ELGIN BID HAS issued a plea to Moray Councillors attending today’s economic development and infrastructure committee that they give a boost to local business.
Committee members will consider a report that points to the successes of the six-month ‘Free after Three’ parking initiative at two town centre car parks and alongside the Marks & Spencer store.
The pilot offered the public free parking after 3pm each day and was an idea promoted by Elgin BID to help boost shopping the hard-pressed town centre. BID manager Gill Neill said: “We were delighted to secure the pilot, we wanted to encourage people to come in and use the services and shops in the city, at a time of day when the city was traditionally quieter.
“We know from the businesses it was popular, increasing footfall and having a direct positive economic impact. Members of the public responded well to it, we received some incredibly positive feedback when we surveyed people at our events and through our Facebook page.
“We were disappointed that an initiative that proved so popular ended in January and hope that the ED&I committee will positively review their decision when they debate in on the 8th March.”
Feeback from Elgin BID members and the general public confirmed that the scheme was being well used and showed an increase in footfall, resulting in a positive economic benefit. According to Elgin BID, that helped to offset a disappointing national trend of a decline in footfall numbers of 4.2%.
Gill Neill added: “These figures were further broken down showing the High Streets and Shopping centres were down 3.8% and 2.8% respectively, compared to a 2% increase in Retail Parks. This type of evidence highlights the importance of adopting and using innovative measures which will encourage shoppers to use the High Street.
“The Moray Council is firmly behind and committed to supporting Economic Development, which is key in ensuring that the area prospers.
“Elgin Businesses are the only ones in Moray to face the pressures of parking charges, initiatives such as Free After 3.00, helped to address some of these pressures and are critical in supporting city centre businesses.”