Traders to pay for shoppers’ parking

Crown car park in Bicester run by Cherwell District Council.'110104M-C352

Crown car park in Bicester run by Cherwell District Council.'110104M-C352

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BICESTER’S traders have banded together to spread a bit of Christmas cheer by refunding shoppers the cost of an hour’s parking throughout December.

From December 1 to December 31 they will be refunding shoppers as a thank-you for supporting them.

Steven Waddup, owner of Furniture Secrets in the new temporary Crown Walk Emporium, said: “I spoke with a number of traders who felt this was both a way of thanking our customers for their support and also holding people in the town.

“This was confirmed when I asked 130 people, ‘would you use the town if parking was free?’, and 120 said yes – 10 said no, of which seven didn’t live here. This made me more determined to press on.”

Traders say this goes some way to levelling the parking playing field for retailers in Bicester and Banbury, compared to most other small towns in the county.

Some traders will set a minimum expenditure for shoppers to qualify for a parking refund, while others will be able to offer it on any purchase.

The scheme will run for an initial trial period and will be reviewed in January. Participating traders will display notices.

So far six traders have confirmed their support, with others expected to join soon.

Ben Jackson, chairman of Bicester and District Chamber of Commerce, said other towns had been able to gain an advantage in the run-up to Christmas by offering free parking.