Ashford Borough Council has introduced cheaper parking fees in select council run car parks in Tenterden and Ashford.
The free and discounted parking scheme, which will be rolled out from October 19th , includes free parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays at the Bridewell Lane car park in Tenterden.
On Sundays and Bank Holidays in Ashford there will be free parking at the Edinburgh Road multi-story car park, ideal for those visiting the Farmers’ Market, and also at the Flour Mills and Station Road car park. In addition, there will be free parking after 3pm in Edinburgh Road car park every day of the week, ideal for a late afternoon visit to the town, and in Station Road car park on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The intention of the change in parking fees is to support Ashford’s retailers by attracting more visitors into the town centre, and additionally, into Tenterden High St, something that free parking for the Farmers’ Market is already doing in Ashford and helping boost trade for local businesses in Tenterden whilst making the high street an attractive option for new business ventures.
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.
The parking scheme was developed following an extensive review of the 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 which accept fees by phone, credit/debit card and ‘wave & pay’ contactless technology.
The new terminals will start to be put in place later in the year as part of an ongoing repair and renewal programme.
All car parks run by Ashford Borough Council are free after 6pm.