Free parking boost for all our festive shoppers

SHOPPERS and retailers in Lowestoft were this week handed the perfect Christmas gift – a festive parking boost!

The Journal can today reveal that Waveney District Council is seeking to boost local businesses and encourage shoppers to Shop Local for Christmas by suspending some parking charges in December.

At a formal delegated meeting next Thursday, December 3, council members will consider a proposal to waive car parking fees throughout Lowestoft for the two Saturdays before Christmas Day (December 11 and 18) from 10am, and on Monday, December 27 from 10am, which is a bank holiday.

In doing so, the local authority hopes shoppers will be encouraged to buy their Christmas presents from locally-run shops and, in the case of the bank holiday, choose to shop locally in the post-Christmas sales.

Free parking at all Waveney District Council-run car parks has already been confirmed for every night in December from 6pm – a move the local authority made to encourage traders to keep shops open for an extra hour each night instead of just for Thursday's late night shopping.

The aim is to give Waveney residents and visitors as many possible opportunities and incentives to buy their Christmas presents from locally-run shops.

The recommendations up for discussion have been suggested by councillors who recognise that the run-up to Christmas is a crucial time for traders and shopping locally helps improve the local economy.

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This is also in keeping with The Journal's Shop Local for Christmas campaign, which urges shoppers to think of Waveney's local shops first when looking for presents in forthcoming weeks.

Councillor Stephen Ardley, portfolio holder for healthy and inclusive communities, said: 'Suspending some parking charges at a time when we, like every other council in the country, are trying to make savings is not a straightforward decision but we have listened to traders and to the people of Waveney, and in these difficult times we want to encourage everyone to 'buy local' this Christmas.

'If agreed, we want shoppers to take advantage of an offer which would take away a little of the financial strain we all feel at this time of year whilst improving the outlook for local businesses.'

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