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Mayor Dave Writes: Business Boost as Free Parking Deal and Parking Charge Freeze Confirmed for January

December 22, 2017 5:03 PM

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behindIn his December column for the Bedford Bulletin, published earlier this month, Mayor Dave Hodgson wrote about the Mayor's Free Parking Deal, which he introduced in the autumn of 2013 and which has coincided with four straight years of town centre footfall growth for Bedford in spite of the national crisis for UK high streets.

Here's the full text of Mayor Dave's Column, while the December edition of the Bedford Bulletin can be read in full here:

We introduced our Free Parking Deal for Bedford Town Centre in 2013, in order to support local shoppers and businesses. Four years on, Bedford is on course for its fourth straight year of footfall growth. This is thanks to a range of factors of which the parking offer is just one, including our excellent businesses and our high proportion of quality independent traders. All of these are combining to help Bedford buck the trend.

So, as we head into this crucial time of year for traders, I'm pleased to report that we have announced that the Free Parking Deal will continue throughout 2018. That means that at Council town centre car parks, your first two hours are free on Saturdays, Sundays are free all day, and there is a free parking option available every day in Bedford town centre. Where charges do apply, they are all frozen for 2018, despite rising inflation.

In the face of trends towards out-of-town and internet shopping, town centres have to offer something distinct to encourage people to make a positive choice to visit them and to spend their valuable time and money. The Free Parking Deal is therefore intended to support our clear vision for Bedford as a place which is attractive not just for retail but also leisure, culture, events, food and drink and more. The return of a town centre cinema and the other attractions of Riverside Bedford also help in this regard, adding to the excellent shops and services elsewhere across the town.

This is an ongoing task which is intended to give people more reasons to enjoy Bedford town centre, during this crucial Christmas shopping period and throughout the year.

Finally, may I wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Mayor Dave Hodgson

Dave Hodgson