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Green light for free Christmas parking in Cherwell

It is hoped that shoppers will flock into Cherwell this Christmas following confirmation of a free parking plan. Cherwell District Council's Executive last night agreed the initiative on six weekends throughout December and into January.

Anyone using the council's car parks would still need to abide by their regulations such as stay limits and utilising just one space per vehicle.

This should ensure that spaces in short-stay car parks have a regular turnover and prevent them being blocked by town centre workers.

image depicting Car park

Councillor George Reynolds, Cherwell's deputy leader, said: "We really hope people make use of this opportunity and do their shopping within the district.

"There is a current trend for people to do much of their shopping online but there is no substitute for browsing around stores to get you into the Christmas spirit.

"This plan has been well received by traders and residents so I am sure it will provide the boost we're hoping for."

Free parking will be made available in Banbury and Bicester every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1 December to 7 January. There is already no charge for parking in Kidlington.

The reasoning behind these three days is that weekends provide the best shopping opportunity for most people and Mondays are traditionally quieter.

"We hope the Monday will help those who do not have their weekends free," added Councillor Reynolds.

Cherwell is the only major parking provider in the district to be offering free parking through the Christmas period, though three areas will not be included.

The council provides enforcement for the Compton Road and Spiceball Leisure Centre car parks in Banbury but they are not operated by the council. The Bridge Street drop-off zone will also be excluded.

Cost of the scheme is expected to be around £100,000 and this would be met in part through the Portas Plus funding, announced earlier in the year by local government minister, Grant Shapps.

The rest will be found through expected revenue under-spends and a predicted investment income surplus.

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