To help combat the negative impact on the high streets of on-line shopping over this last year of the pandemic, one Dorset town has come up with a innovative way to encourage the local community back to the town centre by making it possible to park for FREE, all they have to do is spend money in the shops to get their parking costs refunded!
A FREE Parking scheme to help encourage back ‘on-line shoppers’ to once again be ‘High Street Shoppers’ is being relaunched in Dorchester. It’s a well-tested and simple scheme: You can park for 2 hours in Dorchester for just a £1 but, by taking the voucher part of your parking ticket with you shopping, you can get your £1 refunded when you spend £10 or more in any of the 70+ shops and other businesses supporting the scheme.
The ticket machines in all the car parks around town issue a double ticket and the voucher part is usable on the day of shopping or unusually, on a future visit to town! If you are parking on-street you can bring your parking ticket from a previous visit and use this instead- The on-street machines only issue the part you need to display on your dashboard.
Phil Gordon, DBID Project Director commented; “The Dorchester BID is relaunching its pioneering and highly successful ‘Park4FREE’ voucher scheme to help boost the recovery of the high street by reducing or entirely removing the cost of parking in town. Many of Dorchester’s well-established businesses have been joined by several exciting new businesses who all believe that our county town has a bright future, one that they want to be part of! Many shops selling essential goods have managed to remain open during lockdown have told us that they couldn’t have done so without the support of their community and wanted to publicly thank everyone for their support, care and continuing custom.”
Dorchester Chamber For Business President Peter Greenaway add; “It is great to see the Town Centre returning to life again after so long without many people being there. We hope that local residents and visitors will enjoy returning to visit the town centre and supporting our retailers and we thank the BID members for supporting the scheme to encourage shoppers to return by refunding the one hour parking costs. A very helpful initiative and we look forward to seeing the footfall and sales figures rising over the coming weeks.”
High streets across the whole of the UK have been decimated by the effects of the pandemic and many famous high street names have vanished altogether however, in Dorchester we have always offered a great selection of smaller independent stores and other businesses to choose from so, Dorchester has not suffered quite the same attrition as others. Amidst all the doom and gloom of the last year a little-known fact is that Dorchester has welcomed more than twelve new shops and businesses including two Vegan/vegetarian cafes, bakeries, restaurants, a phone shop, a record shop and many more!
Neil Strudwick owner of Goldcrest Jewellers and DBID Chairman commented “Now that things are starting to ‘unlock’ it’s a great time to re-discover all that Dorchester has to offer and enjoy some well-managed, socially distanced shopping with, of course, FREE parking using the voucher scheme!”