You won’t need to worry about digging through your pockets for spare change quite so often because Ashford Borough Council has introduced cheaper parking fees in select council run car parks across the borough.
The free and discounted parking scheme will be rolled out from October 19th in numerous car parks across Ashford and Tenterden.
You’ll be glad to hear that on Sundays and Bank Holidays there will be free parking at the Flour Mills car park and the Edinburgh Road multi-story car park, ideal if you’re visiting the Farmers’ Market on the first Sunday of the month. In addition, there will be free parking after 3pm in Edinburgh Road car park every day of the week, perfect for a late afternoon visit to the town, and in Station Road car park on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
There will also be free parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays at the Bridewell Lane car park in Tenterden and talks with Tenterden Parking Forum are underway regarding a further discount scheme in Bridewell Lane car park. This builds on work commencing last year with the Tenterden Parking Forum which saw the introduction of free tourist coach parking in Station Road.
Pay and Display sign
The intention of the change in parking fees is to support Ashford’s retailers by attracting more visitors into the town centre, something that free parking for the Farmers’ Market is already doing. The council hopes the initiative will also increase the footfall in Ashford which will help boost trade for local businesses and make the town centre an attractive option for new business ventures.
The parking scheme was developed following a review of council run car parks, research on what other towns are doing and consultation with various stakeholders. It also took into account changes in parking technology and government guidance.
Cllr Bernard Heyes, portfolio holder for transportation, highways and engineering, said: “Over the past year we have undertaken an extensive review of our parking policy throughout the borough, including researching how other councils operate and seeking the views of various stakeholders.
“As a consequence I am sure that these bold initiatives will attract more visitors, encourage vibrant town centres and boost trade which will ultimately improve our high streets’ fortunes. They will also complement existing initiatives such as free parking for the Farmers’ Market.”
Phil Burgess, Town Clerk for Tenterden Town Council said: “This is a great outcome for the town and is a direct result of the strong working relationship between Tenterden Parking Forum and Ashford Borough Council.”
Many of the existing parking payment terminals will be replaced with modern pay machines. Visitors will soon be able to simply wave their card to make a contactless-payment, or purchase a ticket via their phone or credit/debit card.
The new machines will be put in place later in the year as part of an ongoing repair and renewal programme.
The cheaper parking scheme is one of many exciting new initiatives being introduced to breathe new life into Ashford’s high streets such as the new Farmers’ Market, PopUp Ashford, T-CAT, Love Ashford website and the Revelation St Mary’s busking initiative.
All car parks run by Ashford Borough Council are free after 6pm.
For more informaion visit http://www.ashford.gov.uk/free-parking