Free parking will be available in Douglas in the run up to Christmas as part of efforts to support the town centre economy.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK has announced a range of concessions to help boost festive trade following a meeting with representatives of the retail sector yesterday, Thursday 23 October.
- Chester Street multi-storey car park and the Promenade Walkway car park will be free for users on Thursdays from 6pm, starting 20 November until 18 December
- Chester Street multi-storey car park and the Promenade Walkway car park will be free for users on Saturdays from 22 November up to and including 20 December
- The reduction in the time limit for the disc zone on the Douglas Promenade highway between Granville Street and the Sea Terminal (from two hours to one hour) will come into operation from the beginning of January 2015
Minister Gawne said:
‘It has always been my intention to grant concessions on parking charges in the build up to Christmas, which is the busiest time of year for the vast majority of shops. Indeed, DoI officers and I have met representatives of the retail industry and the Department of Economic Development on several occasions to discuss this issue. Yesterday’s discussions were generally positive and productive and although there were some differences of opinion we were able to reach agreement on a number of helpful measures.’
‘Free parking will be in place to coincide with the peak shopping times in Douglas; the Thursday late-night Christmas opening and throughout the day on Saturdays. I recognise that it has been a difficult trading environment this year and I hope these parking concessions will prove beneficial.’
The confirmation of free Christmas parking has been welcomed by retailers and town centre officials.
Jane Dellar, Chief Executive of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, said:
‘Parking provision is an important consideration for the retail trade. There is concern over the Department’s plans to increase charges, but retailers are pleased that arrangements for free parking will be in place in the lead up to Christmas. I look forward to further discussions with the Department in future.’
The Christmas parking concessions follow this week’s announcement by the Department of Infrastructure of a package of measures aimed at securing the additional income necessary to meet its challenging budget target.
The changes, which include revised charges for off-street parking, are being progressed to ensure the Isle of Man Government achieves its national priority of rebalancing public finances by 2016. The Department is responsible for delivering revenue savings of £5 million in the current financial year, which is half of Government’s overall target for 2014-15. The majority of these savings will be delivered through reduced expenditure across the Department.
- The free parking on Thursday evenings and Saturdays in the run up to Christmas applies only to the Chester Street multi-storey car park and Promenade Walkway car park. Normal charges will apply for the Department’s other car parks at Drumgold Street, The Tongue and Parade Street East and West.