Ipswich: New boost for town centre traders
- Credit: Archant
Retailers and cafes in Ipswich town centre have been given another major pre-Christmas boost – the “Quids In” promotion on many of the town’s car parks and bus services is to run until the end of January.
When the promotion – which allows unlimited afternoon and evening parking in the borough’s car parks after 3pm for £1 – was introduced in September, it was due to end on Friday, November 15.
However after the scheme was shown to have brought in thousands of extra shoppers to the town centre during afternoons, the borough has decided to extend it until the end of January.
Borough car parks will continue to cost just £1 for unlimited parking after 3pm between Monday and Friday.
Journeys into town on Ipswich Buses will also continue to cost just £1 – although the extended offer will not include park and ride services.
However on the five late-night shopping Thursdays leading up to Christmas, starting on November 21, park and ride will be free after 3pm. NCP, whose Cox Lane and Turret Lane car parks had been part of Quids In, has not extended the offer over the Christmas period.
Figures from the borough show that the first two months of the promotion led to almost 25,000 cars using their car parks – a 17% increase on the same period last year.
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Borough council leader David Ellesmere said: “We are very pleased with the initial results of our Quids In campaign. Usage of our car parks was up and retailers have seen an increase in sales.
“By extending Quids In until the end of January we will give town centre businesses a boost in the crucial festive trading period and give shoppers hit by the Cost of Living Crisis a welcome Christmas present.
“This is one bill that won’t be going up this Christmas!”
Retailers have been enthusiastic about the promotion – Marks and Spencer manager Charlotte Robertson said the promotion had helped to attract many more afternoon shoppers to the Westgate Street store.
The extension is just one of a number of promotions Ipswich Buses is launching to mark the reopening of the Tower Ramparts bus station next weekend.
Managing Director Malcolm Robson said: “We’re pleased to be able to extend the Quids In deal, and having both bus stations open again should make all the difference.
“We’ve got some special offers on our smart cards with 10 journeys for £10 and other deals,” he added.
The scheme’s extension was also backed by Ipswich Central, which helped broker the original scheme – but the group is now looking for a long-term boost for retailers.
Chairman Terry Baxter said: “It is no surprise that reducing transport costs has enticed more people into town – we have been saying that for years.
“While the Borough’s short term extension is a step in the right direction, it isn’t a solution.
“Of even more importance is a return to a partnership approach in 2014 that reduces parking and public transport costs across the board and in the long term. This is what will provide the more compelling proposition.”
And the county council’s Cromwell Square car park is included in the offer.
Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s assistant cabinet member for roads and transport, said: “It is great to see that Quids In has had a positive impact on trading figures in Ipswich town centre. It is important that we support retailers and other businesses make the most of their busiest time of the year.”