Falkirk town centre parking to be free after 3 p.m.

The free parking move is aimed to get more people back shopping in Falkirk High Street
The free parking move is aimed to get more people back shopping in Falkirk High Street
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Free parking after 3 p.m. is being introduced in Falkirk town centre in a bid to encourage shoppers.

The move has been welcomed by retailers, officials and politicians as a bold initiative which could revitalise the heart of the shopping centre.

Users of pay and display car parks will not need to pay charges during the ‘Free after Three’ trial period which is due to start within weeks and run until December.

Falkirk Council could lose over £53,000 in annual income.

The move is reported to be a Scottish first with other towns preparing to follow Falkirk’s lead.

It was a proposal from Think Falkirk, an independent retailer and town centre group set up to look at ways Falkirk council and its partners could help enhance the trading environment.

The council has agreed to waive charges later in the day at its car parks in Kemper Avenue, Garrison Place, Meeks Road, Melville Street, Weir Street and Williamson Street as part of the ‘Free after Three’ initiative.

The trial period will run till December.

Councillor Dennis Goldie, economic development spokesperson, said: “This is designed to encourage more support for retailers in the town centre in line with current good practice to support growth. It is being introduced as part of the council’s ongoing liaison with the town centre retail community and Falkirk Business Improvement District.

“It is just one of a number of measures that we are bringing together as part of a wider package to stimulate the local economy.”

When the proposal was agreed by the executive committee, Councillor Linda Gow said other areas, including Glasgow were looking at similar schemes.

Due to be introduced in a few weeks, the cost to the council could be over £53,000 annually in lost income with new signage costing £4500.

Falkirk Delivers will carry out a survey of retailers to gauge the impact once the scheme has been running for some time.

Welcoming the move, town centre manager Alastair Mitchell said: “I am delighted the council has agreed to this initiative which will be marketed extensively in Falkirk and further afield to encourage footfall.

“It is fantastic and encouraging that the council has taken on board this proposal from Think Falkirk.”