On Saturday 6th December, the council will not charge to park in any of its long stay car parks between 12:00 and 18:00 as part of ‘Small Business Saturday’.
The event, supported by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, is based on an American scheme which has seen sales in small businesses boosted by around $5.5 billion in the USA.
It was first held in the UK and on the Island last year and will again take place on what is traditionally one of the busiest days for shopping in the lead up to the festive season.
The Isle of Wight Council’s Executive member for the economy Shirley Smart, said:
“We supported Small Business Saturday last year and are keen to do so again by providing free car parking for a long period on 6 December.
“We have changed the period of free parking this year to between 12:00 and 18:00. This is based on feedback received last time which suggested that many people took advantage of the parking in the morning and left their vehicles parked all day. This in turn meant many car parks were full which prevented shoppers from finding spaces.
“By providing free parking from midday should mean more spaces are available for shoppers to visit towns across the Island including those where they might not usually shop”.
Normal Arnold from the Federation of Small Businesses said the event is great for shops ahead of Christmas, saying:
“This scheme is being thoroughly embraced by our members and will be a boon for Island shoppers.
“Across the Island we have some of the most innovative and interesting retailers you will find anywhere and I would encourage everybody to explore all we have to offer on 6 December. Doing this also supports local traders and helps boost the local economy. You may just find the inspiration to make this a very special Christmas for loved ones.”
Kevin Smith from the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce added:
“The Chamber supports Small Business Saturday as it helps to promote and celebrate the great range of small businesses that we have on the Isle of Wight.
“We endorse the council’s support of the day by providing free car parking across the Island which will also encourage residents to buy local, especially during this important trading period leading up to Christmas.”