Free parking to encourage Christmas shopping in Wilmslow

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With the nation having come out of lockdown this week and entering the new tiered system, retail businesses have reopened and it's all systems go on the countdown to Christmas.

To encourage people to support their local businesses during this condensed Christmas season, Wilmslow Town Council requested that Cheshire East Council allow free parking in the town centre.

The Council has now agreed that parking will be free in Hoppers car park, Sainsbury's car park and Spring Street car park on the two Saturdays leading up to Christmas, that being the 12th and 19th December with the Artisan Market due to take place on the last of these dates. The period of free parking will commence at 10am on each of the days.

Martin Watkins, Chairman, Wilmslow Town Council said 'It has been an incredibly difficult year, not least for our high street traders and it is vital that if we want a vibrant town centre going forwards that we support it now when it needs our help.

"It is vital that we shop safely and sensibly but how better to do that than to stay local and I hope that the free car parking will provide further incentive'.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Mark Russell
Friday 4th December 2020 at 11:58 am
Don’t the shops open during the week?
Pete Wright
Saturday 5th December 2020 at 7:18 am
Pathetic reponse by Cheshire East of 'offer' free parking on 2 Saturdays only in the face of Covid and multiple shop closures, what world are they living in?
Nick Jones
Saturday 5th December 2020 at 1:15 pm
Myopic... Our town needs meaningful help AR Covid.. this is merely a token gesture...and whilst a very small step, whats the long term plan.. I don't think it needs to be spelt out yet again.
Mark Goldsmith
Saturday 5th December 2020 at 5:07 pm
This is a regular initiative Cheshire East offers to all town councils every year, so it is not linked with Covid-19.

In October I asked Wilmslow Town Council to set up a small group to run events to bring shoppers into the town. It is something Knutsford and Macclesfield have already done but unfortunately all the Conservative councillors rejected the idea (apart from Cllr Brookes who was absent).

Since then, evidence from Cheshire East shows footfall in our town centre was -23% in September year-on-year. This data comes from mobile phone masts, so was cheap to obtain, accurate and comparable. It also showed Wilmslow had the most reduced footfall of all the town centres in the borough.

Therefore, I am pleased Cllr Watkins now realises the importance of this issue and the need to help. Your four Residents of Wilmslow councillors are proposing another initiative to the council later this month, so I hope Cllr Watkins will now support this one. We can then create an annual plan of events to attract more shoppers into the town.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Cheshire East & Wilmslow Town Council
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 9th December 2020 at 6:04 pm
The council just don't get it. Tesco and Marks free parking. People don't want to pay to park and with covid they will just shop on line. During covid the whole of Wilmslow should be having free parking.

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