Free festive parking in Falkirk

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Christmas shoppers in Falkirk district have been delivered a £30,000 gift.

That’s how much it will cost Falkirk Council to waive fees in the run-up to the festive period in all the car parks it operates.

But councillors at the full meeting of the authority last week said the plan would provide benefits for local traders.

The move came into force on December 8 and will run for four weeks.

According to Council Leader Craig Martin the loss of income will be more than worth it if it delivers a much-needed boost to the town centre this Christmas.

He said: “There are two benefits to free parking at this time – it will encourage people to shop locally and subsequently stimulate the local economy.

“We did this in 2009-10 and got a good response.

‘‘The downside is it will cost us £30,000 in car parking fees over the four weeks, but it’s a positive move that will be welcomed by shoppers and businesses at this, the busiest shopping time of the year.”

Town Centre Business Improvement District manager Alastair Mitchell said: “The free parking is fantastic news, especially for businesses off the High Street.

‘‘Everything which encourages footfall into our town centre at this time of year is most welcome.

“This initiative, and our excellent public transport network of buses and trains means Christmas shopping in Falkirk is accessible to all. Our roving ambassadors will be visiting businesses in the town over the next couple of weeks to find out if they have been enjoying an upturn in trade.”