Free parking for Xmas in north Norfolk

Festive shoppers in North Norfolk are getting some free parking as a pre-Christmas present.All the district's 34 council-run car parks will have two hours free on the next four Saturdays in a bid to boost business for traders during the difficult economic situation.

Festive shoppers in North Norfolk are getting some free parking as a pre-Christmas present.

All the district's 34 council-run car parks will have two hours free on the next four Saturdays in a bid to boost business for traders during the difficult economic situation.

North Norfolk District Council said while the scheme covered all car parks including rural ones, the aim was to make Christmas shopping in the local a more attractive prospect and boost business for local traders.

It will run on November 29 and December 6, 13 and 20 in slots that normally cost 60p or £1 an hour, depending upon the location and type of car park.


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Councillor Peter Moore, the council's cabinet member for resources, said: “Our local businesses need all the support North Norfolk people can give them, at this time of economic uncertainty. And we, the district council, are delighted to help in this way.

“There's such a wealth and variety of shops in North Norfolk and we hope residents will be tempted to explore what they have on their doorsteps when they're preparing for the festive season. There's no need to travel all the way to Norwich, or even further afield.”

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The council introduced a no-restrictions free parking initiative in 2004, as a boost to traders after a poor weather-hit summer season, in a move that cost them £15,000 in lost parking fees. But it was cut to two hours the following year after it emerged some people had abused the system and left their cars in car parks all day while taking the train to Norwich.

It was dropped in 2006 because the council needed to pay for a spate of damage and thefts from ticket machines.

Despite there having been another spate of pay and display machine attacks this year the council said it was keen to support local businesses in the current economic climate.

Sheringham Chamber of Trade chairman Janet Farrow welcomed the move saying: “Anything that encourages people to the towns is a help.”

The town was already geared up for free parking anyway to promote its Xmas lights switch and continental market weekend.

“We are normally busy in December anyway with people coming for walk by the seaside, and to find bits and pieces around the little shops which is the joy of Christmas shopping.”

Sheringham's switch on by the local panto's Peter Pan is at 4.30pm on Saturday, with the new 20-stall continental market running from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

North Walsham's festive lights go on at 5pm Saturday, with a local seven-year-old Bethany Pardon doing the honours after winning the VIP job through an auction of promises.

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