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Buy two, get two free parking plan for shoppers ‘will bring festive cheer’

Traders have hailed a trial which gives shoppers two hours free parking as a boost for the town.

Traders have hailed a trial which gives shoppers two hours free parking as a boost for the town.

Business owners have been reacting to news that Cheshire East council has launched a ‘Buy Two Get Two Free’ parking initiative.

The Make it Macclesfield Forum has been pushing for months for the six-month trial, which allows people to buy a two-hour parking ticket and get two hours free.

The scheme is part of a town-wide review of car parking which has included improvements to the Grosvenor Street multi-storey and overnight tickets.

The car parks included are Christ Church, Commercial Road, Gas Road, Hibel Road and Jordangate.

Forum chairman Clare Hayward said: "We’re delighted to announce this after months of working with the council.

"There has to be an integrated strategy when it comes to footfall in town centres and car parking.

"We hope the scheme will bring people into town – people who are prepared to stay longer to shop, eat and socialise.

"We have introduced overnight parking so if you want to stay in town for a night out you can pay in the evening and your hours will count in the morning – so more nights out in Macclesfield. Let’s keep shopping and eating in town."

Traders welcome the scheme because they believe shoppers will browse and spend more. Sandra Holtappel, owner of Kooky Burrow on Church Street, said: "I think it’s just what the town centre needs.

"It’s a great incentive for customers to come and do their Christmas shopping in our wonderful town. There’s a diverse range of independent shops and it will give people time to discover more."

Mandy Fazelynia, of the Make it Macclesfield Forum and founder of Love Local Life, said: "It’s definitely a step in the right direction.

"We need to encourage shoppers to stay in Macclesfield and this is a move towards that, which is fantastic."

During the Shop Local campaign the Express has featured complaints that the council needs to do more to help struggling town centre businesses. Biggest gripes are the rates – in fact set by the government – and parking.

Traders had criticised the council for driving shoppers away with expensive town centre parking.

But Terry Butler, from Sevens on Chestergate, said more needs to be done.

He said: "The deal is only for 552 of the 2,246 parking spaces in town, about 25 per cent. They have chosen car parks that are under-used, on the edge of the town centre, and for two of them, mean a struggle uphill.

"They won’t offer the same for all car parks because they don’t want to lose the income.

"People have consistently said that if the council was really concerned about reduced footfall, they should allow two hours free parking in all car parks.

"Limited free parking for a reasonable period is the only way to counteract the pull of John Lewis and the Trafford Centre."

Peter Luty, Grosvenor Centre manager, said he hopes it brings in shoppers, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

He said: "We hope the council may look at extending parking schemes and include as many car parks as possible."

CEC declined to comment.

 
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