A BID to introduce free parking in council car parks in the run-up to Christmas has attracted cross-party support in Northwich.

Conservative councillors have called on the Labour-led Cheshire West and Chester Council to temporarily suspend parking charges, as well as demand the borough’s active travel schemes be scrapped.

At last week’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Neil Sullivan suggested CWAC ‘make all car parks free on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays’ alongside stopping charging ‘after 3pm from Monday to Thursday’.

Now, the calls have gathered support from Independent, Labour, and Conservative councillors in-and-around Northwich.

“The way things have been, it would help. Anything would help if customers had free parking, then it may encourage local people to come and shop back in the town centre and boost the businesses,” said Conservative Cllr Helen Treeby, who represents Rudheath.

“We are now in Tier 2, so follow the rules and guidance to keep everybody safe.”

Labour’s Sam Naylor told the LDRS he also supported the idea: “I would be in favour of doing it again, there was a precedent set last year. I don’t subscribe to bringing a wrecking ball to the whole parking strategy, though.

“I am all for giving the town centre a boost, and [this proposal] injects a bit of Christmas spirit in a difficult situation.”

His sentiments were echoed by Weaver and Cuddington representative Cllr Gillian Edwards.

The Independent group leader commented: “I very much welcome the introduction of free parking, it’s an excellent idea. Covid-19 has impacted everyone’s lives in various ways including financially with increased unemployment so anything to help is great.

“Free parking will provide a much needed boost to the economy of Northwich enabling everyone to enjoy the festive period in a safe, secure and now cost effective way.”

The Council is running a series of events across the borough for the festive period, with Northwich’s Lion Salt Works hosting a ‘A Victorian Christmas at the Works’.

The event will see family-friendly activities such as music, traditional crafts and games, steam engines, the Rivendell choir and bell-ringers, and a visit from Father Christmas himself.