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Council set to waive cost of Christmas parking across Borough

Free parking initiative would cost up to a maximum of £25,000

Free parking is again expected to be offered to visitors to Armagh on each Saturday during December as part of the countdown to Christmas.

But the initiative will not extend to include Georgian Day over the last weekend of November.

A recommendation to waive the cost of car parking at ABC council-managed car parks has once again been brought forward.

The free parking plan would cover four Saturdays – December 1, 8, 15 and 22 – up to a maximum cost of £25,000.

A recommendation to proceed as in previous years goes before Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s economic development and regeneration committee, meeting on Tuesday evening.

It also proposes the dates for light switch-ons across the borough and the twilight markets.

It has been recommended lights and markets be held in Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge over the last three Fridays in November 16, 23 and 30 respectively.

The annual Christmas lights switch-on in Brownlow is due to take place on Wednesday, November 28.

And the Georgian Day Christmas lights display will take place on Saturday, November 24.

A report to committee points to the “success of the annual Christmas switch-ons over the past two years” and the “benefit and prosperity of the twilight markets in driving footfall into the town centres and the sense of community spirit that is attained at these family friendly events”.

There are 18 fee-paying car parks across the borough, 17 of which would be involved in the free car parking initiative, as the 18th is managed by an external commercial operator.

In proposing free parking, the report adds: “The council is committed to driving the regeneration and economic wellbeing of the traditional city/town centres across the borough and the Christmas trading period provides retailers with a significant opportunity to increase annual turnover within a finite period of time.”

The issue will be up for decision at committee, and will be formally ratified at the monthly meeting later in June.

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