Uttlesford District Council accepts free parking scheme

5:10 PM December 3, 2021

10:09 a.m. December 6, 2021

Parking in Uttlesford will be free between Christmas Day and January 3 to attract people to town centers and villages.

According to documents from Uttlesford District Council, it is thought to cost £10,000.

But according to a council report, free parking hasn’t significantly increased the number of people visiting the district’s town centers in the past.

Free parking will not cover Fairycroft, Saffron Walden car park.

A section of the report reads: “Anecdotal evidence from Saffron Walden BID and the Great Dunmow Town team, and numerous individual companies, indicates that these promotional campaigns do not generate significantly higher footfall in the centres- cities.”

At a cabinet meeting last night (Thursday 2nd December) Councilor Richard Freeman said: ‘It seemed to make very little difference, partly because most people knew nothing about free parking and even if they had it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

However, Cllr Freeman supported the motion as not doing so “wouldn’t be in the spirit of what we’ve done before”.

He adds: “It’s a perfectly reasonable time, the shortfall will not be very significant, but on the other hand it makes it a little easier to get around to park, you don’t have to worry about it.”

The council previously allowed free parking in 2019, but almost 90% of people in Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow were unaware of this, according to the report.

Over 50% of respondents said a free parking incentive would encourage them to visit city centres.

Council leader John Lodge told the meeting: “Publicity of this is important if we are to get the most out of it.

“We want to make sure that people know that and actually use this facility and actually bring additional footfall to the city.”

According to the report, the council will promote the free parking incentive by using stickers and banners in car parks, advertising on social media and in newspapers, and liaising with councils. and parishioners, Saffron Walden BID, Great Dunmow Town Team and Stansted Business Forum.


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