Drivers will soon be able to park for 30 minutes free of charge on six car parks across Stoke-on-Trent – in a move aimed at supporting businesses and boosting trade.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is bringing in the initiative on certain council-owned car parks in Tunstall, Burslem, Stoke, Longton, Fenton and Meir as part of a revamp of parking charges across the city.
The 30-minutes’ free 'nipper' parking will be introduced for the following car parks from Monday, February 17:
- Tunstall – Butterfield Place, 18-spaces (currently 80p for up to 30 minutes)
- Burslem – Chapel Lane, 61-spaces (currently £1.50 for up to two hours)
- Stoke – South Wolfe Street, 66-spaces (currently 70p for up to 30 minutes)
- Longton – Longton Exchange, 213-spaces (currently £1.60 for up to two hours)
- Fenton – City Road, 93-spaces (currently 50p for up to 30 minutes)
- Meir – Weston Road, 29-spaces (currently 90p for up to one hour)
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “We know that the rise of online shopping has posed challenges for local businesses and we want to do as much as we possibly can to help them thrive. One thing shoppers and traders have told us would help is a short period of free parking for the people who want to pull up, nip in one or two shops and then be on their way again, but feel put off at having to pay to park for five or ten minutes.
“We’ve carefully listened and are really pleased to be bringing in 30 minutes’ free parking across a total of 513 spaces on one car park in each of Tunstall, Burslem, Stoke, Longton, Fenton and Meir. It’s aimed directly at supporting traders and I hope people will take full advantage of the offer and visit our High Streets and town centres.”
As part of the changes, parking will also become free after 7pm on council car parks in Fenton, Tunstall and Longton to support the night-time economy in the three towns. The option to pay to park for up to an hour on car parks is also being brought back across the city which will save short-stay shoppers money compared to the current two-hour stay ticket. Free 20 minute parking in designated short-stay bays at John Street multi storey in the city centre will also continue to be offered.
In a further positive step, each calendar year groups in Tunstall, Burslem, Stoke, Fenton and Longton will be given one period of continuous 24 hours’ free parking in their town to support a community event or activity of their choice.
Cllr Jellyman added: “There is lots on offer in all of our towns, from great places to eat to fantastic independent shops. We get requests for free parking in our towns throughout the year when an event is taking place, such as a summer carnival or firework display. While we obviously want to support every event as much as we can, it’s just not financially possible to make parking free on every occasion. What we’re doing to make it fair across the towns is encouraging groups to pick one event in the year they would like free parking for, make an application and we will support them with that.”
The city council is removing the current £1 after 3pm offer in favour of the free 30 minute and free after 7pm alternatives. To fund the discounted parking offers, the cost of parking will go up on some car parks in the city. However, prices have also been lowered for parking where there is currently less demand – including Weston Road car park in Meir, Glebe Street in Stoke, City Road in Fenton, Upper Huntbach Street car park in Hanley, and Meigh Street multi-storey car park in Hanley.
Traders and shoppers have welcomed the free 30 minute and free after 7pm parking offers.
Michelle Woolley, who opened the Mexican Snack Shack in Stoke Market last year, said: “I think the 30 minute free parking is a brilliant idea, particularly for the traders at Stoke Market like myself. Not everyone wants to pay to park when you’re just popping in somewhere for a couple of minutes and it can put people off. We get workers who come to us at dinner but because they have to pay to park, it adds extra on top of the cost of their food, so I’m sure they will really like the free parking. I can only see this being a good thing for the market and the town.”
Motorist Daniel Bailey, aged 34, who lives in Packmoor, said: “It can be frustrating having to pay to park when you know you’ll only be in a shop for five minutes and it does put some people off. Knowing you’ve got 30 minutes free parking will encourage more people into town centres and shops in my opinion. Making it free to park after 7pm in Longton, Tunstall and Fenton will also hopefully give the night-time businesses in those areas a boost as well.”
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987 (journalists only)