Free parking boost for Dales shoppers

Free parking is being rolled out across the Dales in a bid to bring in Christmas shoppers.

Derbyshire Dales District Council is once again encouraging people to shop locally and will waver charges at their car parks after 2pm from today until New Year’s Day.

That includes the six pay and display car parks in Matlock, four in Matlock Bath, four in Bakewell, and two in Wirksworth.

The usual parking charges will apply in all car parks until 2pm, although holders of a residents’ parking permit can still park free of charge before 11am each day.

The festive scheme was introduced by the district council four years ago to help local residents and businesses during the economic recession.

Council leader Cllr Lewis Rose OBE said: “As a council we are having to cut back again because of another reduction in Government grants this coming year but while car parking income is vital in supporting the services we provide for the people of the Dales we want to do everything possible to encourage people to shop locally.

“This measure is on top of residents’ parking concessions which allow local people to park free every day of the year up to 11am and after 4pm.

“We think this policy is fair and, crucially, it helps local people and local traders.”

Meanwhile, there are high hopes that Matlock will be given an economic boost this weekend as the annual festive extravaganza gets underway tomorrow.

The finishing touches are being put to the popular three-day event in Hall Leys Park with a packed three day programme planned, including a market with over 150 stalls, Santa’s parade, music and entertainment, fairground rides, and the big Christmas lights switch on by TV presenter Kylie Pentelow on Saturday evening, followed by a firework spectacular on Sunday evening.

MP for Derbyshire Dales, Patrick McLoughlin, agreed that the festive season was an important time for local traders and urged people to make the most of them.

He said: “We have a large number of excellent independent shops and also a growing number of local crafts people.”