Free parking in Wigan extended for another year

Free parking in Wigan and Leigh at weekends is to be extended for another 12 months.
Free parking in Wigan town centreFree parking in Wigan town centre
Free parking in Wigan town centre

The borough council’s cabinet made the announcement after approving a budget which also included a freeze on council tax bills for the coming financial year.

The free parking idea was launched last September in the face of shop closures and falling visitor numbers to local town centres and it has proved a success.

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Its initial run was to go through Christmas and into the early new year and then the authority prolonged it until March 31.

Now the scheme has been given another year - at least. It will cost the council £400,000 in lost revenue but it is hoped that it will boost the local retail, leisure and hospitality economy.

Council leader David Molyneux said: “Free parking gives shoppers the perfect opportunity to visit the town’s top high street names, independent shops as well as its popular local markets.

“It’s now up to you to use the free parking and support your local economy. That support means that we can continue to drive investment and transform our town centres to meet a demand from you.”

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This week’s cabinet meeting approved plans to peg back council tax for the sixth year running. It is believed to be one of only a few local authorities to freeze council tax this year with 97 per cent of councils in England expected to increase it.

Wigan will also have the lowest council tax in Greater Manchester.

The authority has revealed that no further efficiencies to frontline services will need to be made for it to reach its total saving of £160m by 2020 and it is reporting a balanced budget this year.

The plans will now go to full council on March 6 for formal approval.