SHOPPERS are set for an early Christmas present after council chiefs agreed to waive car parking charges for motorists in all town centre car parks on Saturdays in the run-up to the festive period.
Motorists get free parking on Sundays all-year round in town centre car parks. But they will now also be able to park for free on Saturday, December 6, 13 and 20.
It is the second successive year the initiative has been introduced by Hartlepool Borough Council, which also includes all car parks and on-street parking in the Church Street area, the Transport Interchange and Mill House Leisure Centre.
The idea is designed to boost trade within the town centre, but also to ease the burden on shoppers at a time when many people are feeling the financial squeeze.
Councillor Peter Jackson, chairman of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said it was a success last year.
“Clearly, car parking charges are a factor that people consider when deciding where to shop and we hope that by suspending all parking charges during weekends in December will encourage both residents and people outside the town to do their Christmas shopping in Hartlepool.”
Mark Rycraft, the manager of Middleton Grange Shopping centre, said: “The council’s decision to provide free parking in Hartlepool is a welcomed one and will benefit all business providing a much needed boost in trade.”
For the last three years motorists have also been able to park free in many town centre car parks after 4pm as part of a similar initiative to encourage people to shop in Hartlepool.
Parking will also be free this year on Boxing Day.
Car parks will also remain open to coincide with late night opening in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. Shops will stay open until 8pm on December 18, 19, 22 and 23.
For further information, call (01429) 523333.