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Gloucestershire Business News

Park for free in Cheltenham during The Festival

There will be one benefit to locals during the chaos of Gold Cup week - free parking in Cheltenham town centre.

The town and its residents are bracing themselves for the influx of nearly a quarter of a million racing fans as The Festival gets under starters orders from Tuesday, March 12.

The week is usually an invitation for Cheltonians to go into hiding and allow racegoers a free rein on the town, but Cheltenham Borough Council are hoping to change their mind.

They hope the scheme, which will allow free parking from 1pm each day - crucially once most of the crowds are up at Prestbury Park, will see people come out of hiding.

Councillor Steve Jordan, leader at Cheltenham Borough Council said: "There is a real buzz in Cheltenham when the races come to town, but we know that some retailers in to the town centre experience a very quiet time throughout the day.

"We would very much welcome those who aren't busy at the races, to visit our vibrant town centre and all that it has to offer.

'While this is purely an initiative by Cheltenham Borough Council, I would be keen to expand schemes like this in future, in particular, to include more sustainable transport options.

"For instance, it would be great to discuss with local bus companies how public transport could be added to the package.''

Kevan Blackadder, director of Cheltenham Business Improvement District, added: "We had good feedback from our businesses last year that free parking in the afternoons had made a real difference.

"Too many locals stay away from the town centre during Race Week, but it's a great time to come into town.

"It's good to see that the council is again supporting this initiative, which I'm sure will help more businesses make the very best of the opportunities that Race Week brings."

The scheme will operate in 14 council-run car parks. It does not apply to Chester Walk, North Place, NCP Portland Street, NCP The Brewery Quarter, Sandford Lido, CitPark John Lewis.

It also does not apply to any privately-run car park in the town centre or to on-street parking.

The car parks offering free parking after 1pm from Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 16 are:

Bath Parade
Bath Terrace
Chelt Walk
Commercial Street
High Street
Coronation Square
West End
Regent Arcade
Rodney Road
Royal Well (maximum stay 4hours)
Sherborne Place
St Georges Road
St James Street
Town Centre East

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