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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 17:13 GMT
Shoppers set for Christmas gift
Princes Street
The council wants to encourage trade on Princes Street
Christmas shoppers are set for free parking in the city centre after officials in Edinburgh announced plans for December.

Free parking on Saturday afternoons and every week day evening during the festive season will take place if plans are approved by councillors next week.

The proposals would mean free parking for drivers in the city centre, West End, Old Town and the Grassmarket.

Parking from 1730 GMT on week days and Saturday afternoons would be free.

It is important that the council does all that it can to promote the city centre
Jenny Dawe
Leader of Edinburgh Council

The policy and strategy committee will consider the recommendations, which will also make the scheme an annual event, at its next meeting on 6 November.

If members approve the report, it will be the third year in a row that free parking will be offered during the festive season in the city centre.

However this year's "present" for drivers will include free Saturday afternoon parking after the council held extensive talks with the city centre business community.

Cllr Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh Council leader, said: "It is important that the council does all that it can to promote the city centre.

"That is why I am delighted that we have managed to work closely with the business community to meet their aspirations through relaxing our parking regulations."

'Attractive city'

Chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Ron Hewitt, welcomed the announcement.

He said: "We are delighted that our continuing collaboration with the council over giving Edinburgh's city centre retailers the best support is recognised by this investment by the city council in using parking relaxations to further enhance the attractiveness of the city centre in the run up to Christmas at what we all know is the busiest period for shoppers in the capital."

Graham Russell, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Edinburgh, added: "We especially welcome the recognition by the council of the crucial importance of this trading period to the capital city's business community as a whole, to the acknowledged success of last year's scheme and to the extension of the number of streets that are to be included this year."

SEE ALSO
Parking move for festive shoppers
01 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Longer parking to help city shops
11 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Tourism slump due to 'G8 effect'
02 Sep 05 |  Scotland
City extends Princes Street ban
15 May 05 |  Scotland
Edinburgh rejects congestion plan
22 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Plan to ban cars gets green light
12 Aug 03 |  Scotland

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