02:15PM, Friday 27 November 2020
Drivers will be able to park for free in council-owned car parks in Windsor and Maidenhead during certain times in the run up to Christmas.
The move was announced by the borough’s parking lead, Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) at a virtual cabinet meeting last night.
Cllr Cannon hoped the decision would ‘bring some Christmas cheer’ and help boost trade for struggling businesses.
He warned that the free parking provision would ‘not be the same’ as in previous years, where it would normally be offered on a Saturday.
This year, there will be free parking in both Maidenhead and Windsor from 3pm on Wednesdays leading up to Christmas - December 9, 16 and 23.
In addition, Windsor will offer free parking on three Sundays ahead of the festive season – December 6, 13 and 20. Maidenhead already offers free Sunday parking. River Street in Windsor is excluded from this offer.
The news comes after the borough received criticism for abolishing the Advantage Card discount in this year’s budget, while a resident parking discount scheme was also omitted from the council’s parking strategy, which was debated on at last night’s meeting.
Cllr Cannon explained how Wednesdays and Sundays were ‘quiet days’ as opposed to Saturdays, which he claimed is already busy with shoppers.
“This time of year we try our best to support our businesses and residents, and in the current climate it is even more important,” Cllr Cannon said.
“These being quiet days, we hope to drive footfall and shoppers to support businesses. That should be good news.”
The move was praised by council leader Cllr Andrew Johnson, who described it as ‘welcome news’ in what will ‘undoubtedly be a difficult time’ for firms.
Later at the cabinet meeting, after an opposition councillor mentioned the loss of the Advantage Card parking discount, Cllr Cannon stressed that ‘the Advantage Card is still there’.
“The card discount was removed in the budget, and we made an undertaking to bring a resident discount scheme back,” he said.
“However, the world has changed through COVID. We remain committed to bringing back a resident discount scheme when we can afford it.
“When our finances are in a position, it is definitely something that will be reviewed.”
He added that the card ‘still exists’ and has ‘various benefits’ for residents to make use of, including ‘access to [Windsor] Castle’, discount benefits across both towns and ‘as someone said on Facebook, good for clearing ice off your windscreen’.
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