Christmas is the busiest time of year for shopping locations across the World. It stands to reason that traffic flow will therefore spike around these times, and there will be much more parking needed. However, because of what are often seen as extortionate parking prices, people are opting for the areas where it's free to leave your car, such as Middlebrook, and the Trafford Centre.
Town-centre shopping is suffering as a result. However, Bolton Council have put a system in place which is simple but so effective . . . Free Parking. It's really common sense at play, but it's a move which should see the masses returning to our town centre.
The new parking system means that there will be no parking charges on a weekend, or on weekdays after 3pm, from the first of this month to the 27th of January. This will affect four multi-storey parking facilities across the town centre; Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon.
The plan is a great extension on last year's scheme when there was free parking on Thursday evenings and Sundays during the festive period. Under the new plan, there will be around 2,700 free spaces on offer to Christmas shoppers.
Bolton Town Centre has some great shops with excellent products available for all your Christmas needs. A lot of money has gone into the area to make it a better experience for everyone, so it seems silly not to use it. Not forgetting the great bars, restaurants and coffee shops that also exist there.
Hopefully, free parking should encourage the people of Bolton to return.
There is also an amazing Christmas programme in place, including the Christmas Lights switch on with the Hairy Bikers, and the construction of an ice rink in Victoria Square, the first for 10 years. The 200-square-metre ice rink will be open seven days a week from the 1st of December to the 6th of January.
The ice rink will be a part of the Winter Wonderland constructed in the town centre, including a Santa's grotto, speciality market, street entertainment, real reindeer and general merriment.
Tickets will be available from a box office next to the ice rink, or pre-ordered online at boltontowncentre.co.uk from the 16th November. More information can be found on that website, including times and prices.