Free parking to coax shoppers back in to town

Improvement works on Market Street in Gainsborough G130212-1c
Improvement works on Market Street in Gainsborough G130212-1c

Shoppers will be able to park for free in Gainsborough this month as the council tries to boost trade in the town centre.

West Lindsey District Council wanted to do something to celebrate the completion of the £500,000 regeneration work on Market Street and Church Street.

The improvements have proved a contentious issue, with many traders saying their businesses have suffered as a result of the disruption.

Matthew Lonsdale of Emmaloos offee Shop said he had noticed a drop in trade since the work began, and was looking forward to it being completed.

“We need to get people used to coming back into the town again,” he said.

And it isn’t just traders who have found the works a problem. One shopper, who did not wish to be named, branded the scheme ‘a waste of money’.

But Council Leader Burt Keimach said that free parking would provide a stimulus for businesses.

“The completion of the improvement work ties in perfectly with the Love Your Local Market fortnight – which the council is supporting,” he said.

“We have a duty to help our traders and shop owners become prosperous and provide valuable services to the whole community.”

“Allowing people to park their cars worry-free is an important part of the shopping experience that will help ‘grow’ our economy,” he added.

The council is suspending parking charges in its council-run car parks around the town on market days between 15th and 29th May. This includes two Tuesdays and two Saturdays.

As an extra bonus there will be free parking on Saturdays for one month after the work on Market Street and Church Street is finished.

Grant Lockett, head of strategic growth at the council said supporting local businesses to help themselves grow is key.

“The council agreed to suspend charges for parking in our own car parks as a way of thanking businesses for their continued support and patience during the improvement works,” he said.

“We also wanted to offer shoppers an incentive to shop local, support the market traders and check out the completed regeneration work.”

The free parking also coincides with Love Your Local Market fortnight. To For more information or to book a stall contact Rebecca Jackson on 07810 658397 or rebecca.jackson@west-lindsey.gov.uk