THERE will be free parking in Wokingham borough car parks in the run-up Christmas.
The move was announced at a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council by Cllr Chris Bowring, the Executive Member for Highways and Transport.
He revealed the news in a statement given to the meeting, held at the Shute End offices on Thursday, November 23.
The parking will be in addition to the Free After Three initiative that the council introduced following a Wokingham Paper campaign to help town centre traders during the regeneration works in Market Place.
Cllr Bowring told the chamber: “Last year, the Council was able to offer free parking on the three Saturdays before Christmas in our town-centre Council-owned car parks.
“This year, I am pleased to say I can go further and extend free parking to include Sunday as well giving free parking for the entire three weekends.
“Furthermore, with parking ‘free after 3’ already adopted in Wokingham town, that means that parking there will be free from 3pm on Friday to 8am on the following Monday.
“This will be of particular benefit to Wokingham town retailers who are currently experiencing reduced footfall due to the town centre improvement works.”
Replying to a question earlier in the evening from resident Caroline Smith about the issues caused by the town centre regeneration, Cllr Bowring added: “I feel that the free parking after 3pm is a real benefit to shoppers in the lead up to Christmas and there are therefore no plans to extend the free parking further.
“We will continue to monitor matters and work with shops and businesses during the remaining construction period to understand the impacts from the ‘free after three’ change while also driving forward as many of the other initiatives raised at the recent business workshop.”
The three weekends before Christmas are December 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24.