Bolton shoppers may receive an unexpected Christmas present this year, with around 2,700 car parking spaces potentially free during the festive season.
Council proposals suggest that four multi-storey car parks operate without charge at weekends and after 3pm on weekdays, between November 1 and January 27.
The plans – to be discussed at cabinet next Monday – would see charges waived at Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and Octagon car parks.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, has claimed that the initiative is to generate high business levels for town centre traders.
“Free parking is something a lot of retailers have been asking us to bring in,” he said.
“Our parking prices are competitive with neighbouring authorities but the economic downturn has had an impact on our town centre like every town across the country and we know that times are tough.
“Introducing free parking in the run up to Christmas will tie in well with late night shopping and the festive programme of entertainment and events that we are organising.
“We’re looking to continue the free parking into the New Year to help at a time when people are usually looking to save a few pounds.
“If the free parking is approved and implemented we will assess the benefits of it and look to whether we continue it in the future.”
NCP operates the car parks on Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon, whilst APCOA manages the Bow Street car park. Both are council affiliates.