Free parking on Thursday evenings for Christmas shoppers in Ipswich

Shoppers will be able to park at the Crown car park near Ipswich town centre on Thursdays up to Christmas

Shoppers will be able to park at the Crown car park near Ipswich town centre on Thursdays up to Christmas - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

Festive shoppers in Ipswich have been given a boost with the introduction of free parking on Thursday evenings in the build-up to Christmas.

Visitors will be able to park for free past 2pm at the Ipswich Borough Council-run Crown car park, in Charles Street, on every Thursday up to Christmas.

The free parking, which lasts until 9.30pm, coincides with the town centre's late-night Christmas shopping hours on Thursday, starting this week.

The final day of free parking will be on December 23.

Ipswich's Christmas tree has been put up in the Cornhill

Ipswich's Christmas tree has been put up in the Cornhill - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The announcement of the weekly free car parking has been welcomed by a number of independent traders in and around the town centre.

Steven Long, manager of beer retailer Hopsters in St Nicholas Street, believed the offer would help boost trade due to the high price of parking in Ipswich.

He said: "Parking is a massive issue in this town with the price. We've got branches in Chelmsford and Leigh-on-Sea, but parking there is so much cheaper.

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"We will be open on Thursday evenings and hoping for a busy Christmas. I think the council needs to implement this sort of thing more often.

"I hope people know about it — it's a good idea."

Dermot Gillespie, of Music World in Queen Street, added: "There's a few loading bays out the front, but you can't stay there for long.

Sarah Barber, Ipswich councillor, said the move would create an 'attractive retail offer' Picture: GREGG BROWN

Sarah Barber, Ipswich borough councillor, said the move would help visitors 'shop local'

"This is definitely something that should help. It's important that we have a good Christmas."

Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "This offer will help retailers and other businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

"Free parking after 2pm on these Thursdays will enable visitors heading to the town centre to shop local, enjoy a meal or go to the theatre and keep a little extra for buying their festive treats."

Ipswich Borough Council has started its preparations for the festive season, with a 50-feet tall Christmas tree recently being put up on the Cornhill.

While no traditional switch-on event is being held this year, tickets are available for a drive-through of the town centre under the festive lights on the Sundays leading up to Christmas.

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