Free parking in the run-up to Christmas will be on offer in Taunton Deane’s two principal towns this year thanks to the Borough Council.
The popular Free After 3 initiative is returning to Taunton to support traders in the busy pre-Christmas season and encouraging people to make the most of the town’s offerings.
The first Free After 3 will be on Saturday November 28, coinciding with the start of Taunton’s Christmas celebrations – shops will stay open until 8pm and there will be a host of activities and attractions, including the Santa Run in Vivary Park. Castle Green will host the Blackdown Hills craft market that day and there will be a preview of Taunton’s Christmas street lighting.
The following day, November 29, will be packed with activity for the Taunton Christmas Festival with markets, funfair rides, street entertainment – and the official switch-on of the Christmas lights by TV personality Johnny Kingdom at 5pm. Parking will be free all day.
Think Amy, the charity set up after the tragic death in a road accident of young Amy Hofmeister, is organising a special appearance by Father Christmas.
He will parade through town in his reindeer-drawn sleigh before settling in to his grotto at The Castle Hotel. The reindeer will be taking a well-earned rest on Castle Green.
The Free After 3 parking will be offered on the following three Saturdays – December 5, 12 and 19 in car parks including High Street and Orchard multi-storeys, The Crescent, Canon Street and Coal Orchard. The offer on December 5 coincides with Small Business Saturday, supported by the Council.
In Wellington, free parking on the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas is being planned again maintaining the tradition of goodwill and helping the local economy.
Charges in Longforth Road, North Street and South Street (Bulford) will be waived for the whole day on November 28, December 5, 12 and 19, following a tradition established over a number of years.
Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for Planning and Transportation, said:
“I am delighted to support Taunton and Wellington and I hope that people take advantage of the free parking and we see an increase in business for all the traders.
Any incentive to encourage use and to market our towns as shopping destinations, I see as a sound investment.”