Northampton Borough Council and the Northampton Town Centre BID have partnered to offer free Christmas parking on Saturdays throughout December.
Every Saturday from tomorrow will be free in all multi-storey car parks, though motorists should be aware that there will still be charges for surface car parks and Northamptonshire County Council’s on-street parking.
Cllr Tim Hadland, Council Cabinet Member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “We’re doing all we can to support businesses in our town centre at this difficult time and we hope everyone else will too.
“We all know this year has been a very difficult time for everyone, and that’s particularly true of businesses which have been forced to close due to lockdowns.
“There is of course a cost to this, and we’ve had to balance that against the need to back our traders while considering the ever-present need for caution in the face of a global pandemic.”
As Saturday is often the busiest day in town ahead of Christmas, if visitors see that a shop is busy or has a long queue, free parking will offer them the freedom to come back later without having to pay more for their parking.
Shoppers are asked to observe the Covid-secure guidance we all know by now – wash hands regularly, wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.
It would also be appreciated if everyone could consider spreading their visits throughout the day to avoid overcrowding. The few hours around noon are routinely the busiest.
“Please use this free parking offer to spread a little Christmas cheer to the fantastic outlets we have in Northampton,” added Cllr Hadland, “and while you’re there why not make use of our new Explore app featuring some fun Christmas activities.”
Mark Mullen, Operations Manager of the BID, said: “We are delighted to announce this news, which is much needed for both businesses and shoppers.
“Businesses need all the help they can get this year and we know car parking charges can influence where people choose to shop and spend their money in the lead-up to Christmas.
“Our message this year is simple: Shop local, shop safely, Rediscover Northampton.”