Shoppers will be able to park in Inverness city centre for free in the lead-up to Christmas, as the Highland Council tries to encourage a post-lockdown boom.
The temporary changes would apply to cars parking in the Rose Street multi-storey for up to two hours, and are set to be implemented as soon as possible.
They are being introduced in an effort to support the recovery of retail in the city’s centre, which has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus and the related restrictions.
Inverness, along with the rest of the Highlands, is currently in level one of the Scottish Government’s protection system.
The two-hour free parking period will be paid for by an increase of prices on longer periods, with parking up to four hours being raised from £2.20 to £3 and up to six hours rising from £3.50 to £4.
Users of the car park staying up to 10, 12, 18 or 24 hours will see a rise of £1 on their tickets.
Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and area councillor, said: “I am very pleased that members of the City of Inverness area committee have agreed to a new range of parking tariffs that are designed to increase footfall to the city centre, to help recovery from the impact of coronavirus and to support retail business in the run-up to the festive season.
“The revision of the parking tariff structure will allow the council to introduce a cost-neutral change to the parking provision at Rose Street which will favour free short-term parking of up to two hours.
“Compared to other national parking facilities, Rose Street car park is already much lower in price and is highly competitive in its pricing structure.
“Anyone affected by the modest rise in the long-stay parking can purchase a parking permit that provides over 50% discount on their annual parking fees.
“This is a win-win situation, which is cost-neutral to the council and businesses will hopefully benefit from increased footfall in their shops to aid the city centre recovery from Covid-19.”
Inverness BID manager Mike Smith said: “We are delighted that the councillors on the City of Inverness area committee have responded to the request by local businesses for support in these difficult times, by agreeing to introduce free short-term parking of up to two hours in the Rose Street multi-storey car park.
“This will support be a major boost for businesses and an attraction to those using the city centre at this vital Christmas trading period.”