Charge is dropped for Ashfield car parking

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The Christmas season will have an extra boost this weekend as shoppers in Ashfield will be able to park their cars for free across the whole of the district on Saturday.

The council is hoping the offer, which is part of the national campaign Small Business Saturday, will help promote local businesses and encourage residents to shop locally.

Rosemary Pella, of The Manor Gift Shop, Idlewells, said the move would help considerably.

She added: “I think a lot of people struggle with parking charges. A couple of pounds can soon add up if you pay it often enough.

“Parking will never be free all the time because the council need to the revenue, but they could consider extending two-hour free parking spots around the town to three.”

Ashfield District Councillor Jim Aspinall, member for Regeneration and Economic Promotion, said: “We think it is important to encourage small businesses to flourish.

“We would love nothing more than to give free parking every day of the year, but that would mean the loss of £400,000 in revenue the council could spend elsewhere.

“But we hope this and the other regenerations measures we have planned will help.”

Council leader Chris Baron said: “We are fully supportive of this and want to encourage people to take advantage of free parking and support their local shops rather than shopping online and giving their money to large corporations.

“There are many unique and independent shops and markets in Ashfield and I hope they benefit from this scheme.”

Chad readers gave their reaction on Facebook. Here are a selection of their comments:

l Sam Pickering: “They do it on a Sunday, so if they extended it to a Saturday it would be great.

“More people would be using town and the council would not have to pay staff to warden its car parks.”

l Joanne Gilbert: “One thing that keeps me out of town is parking costs.”

For more information on the location and capacity of Ashfield carparks use the following link: goo.gl/d8lFbc or phone the council on 01623 450000.