Opinion: Free car parking will bring Christmas cheer

The East Riding can look forward to playing a big part in Tour de Yorkshire.
The East Riding can look forward to playing a big part in Tour de Yorkshire.

We are well into the festive season now and I hope you are all full of Christmas spirit.

If you’re anything like me you’ll still have a few presents to buy but, with the wide range of shops we’re lucky to have in the East Riding, I’m confident I won’t be short of ideas.

Stephen Parnaby.

Stephen Parnaby.

The council has already provided some festive cheer by again offering free weekend parking in the run-up to Christmas.

It is the sixth year that we have suspended charges in council-run car parks and on-street parking locations for the first three weekends of December. It should be a great benefit to shoppers and traders during what is such a key period for our local businesses.

I hope many of you have taken advantage of this and have been doing your Christmas shopping locally.

The launch of the free parking initiative coincided with Small Business Saturday last weekend, which is a national campaign promoting the benefits of supporting local, small businesses and it takes place every year on the first Saturday of December.

The council is very supportive of Small Business Saturday because we have thousands of small shops and firms across the East Riding.

They are hugely important to our economy – not only providing products, services and employment but also boosting tourism – and it is vital that we all support them as much as possible by spending our money locally.

The council places huge importance on supporting the local economy and our High Street Fund has backed town centre projects with grants totalling tens of thousands of pounds to help such things as food markets, music and art festivals and marketing initiatives which boost the profiles of our commercial high streets and I hope its legacy will be felt for years to come.

Speaking of the future, the East Riding can again look forward to playing a big part in the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 following the huge success of the inaugural event this year.

And hopes are high that the East Riding will enjoy many benefits from Hull being the UK City of Culture in 2017. East Riding of Yorkshire Council is a principal partner in the City of Culture 2017 and our venues, residents and businesses can play a big part in the celebrations which will be starting in just over a year’s time now.

So, as we look forward to exciting times ahead, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!