An Aberdeen council scheme to provide parking in the city centre for just £1 after 5pm has been praised by business bodies.
The local authority approved the £80,000 Alive@Five project at budget discussions on Tuesday.
It is hoped the initiative will boost footfall in the beleaguered city centre which has suffered as a result of the oil and gas downturn.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We’re delighted that Aberdeen City Council has given universal support to the introduction of our ‘Alive After Five’ strategy which will bring significant benefits to the city centre during the evenings.
“A similar scheme has proved very successful in Newcastle and other cities, where appropriate car parking areas are made free of charge or at a reduced rate to the public in the early evening, attracting more people into city centres for retail and entertainment.
“We looked at the experiences of this strategy and, if ever there was a time to bring in progressive thinking, such as carefully considered dispensation on parking charges for our city centre, then it is now.”
David Groundwater, development manager for the Federation of Small Business (FSB) said:“Overall retail vacancies in cities and towns now average 12.3% – and many businesses are struggling to compete with online and out-of-town competitors.
“Parking policy is a key lever of local government to support their local economy and the steps taken by Aberdeen City Council today to reduce barriers and support small business is very much welcomed.”