The scheme is part of a pilot to test the impact on local businesses and encourage people to spend their money locally.
From Monday 29 July, motorists will be able to park in six of the town centre’s car parks without being charged for the first three hours of their stay as part of a pilot to assess the impact on local trade.
Brought forward by the Paisley Town Centre Car Parking Working Group, the six-month pilot will identify if a period of free parking will increase footfall in the town centre and entice people to stay local.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, Chair of the Working Group, said: “Paisley town centre has so much to offer and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to visit and spend their money locally.
“We’ve been working closely with local businesses and partners to identify how the council can best provide its support and they’ve identified that a period of three hours parking could boost footfall in the town and increase trade within their businesses.
“It’s hoped that it will encourage people to stay local and while this obviously comes with a significant financial implication for the council in terms of loss of income and inputting new parking meters, we’re happy to explore ideas brought forward by our partners and the local community.
“The pilot will be evaluated after six months and we’ll assess the impact it has had and identify the next steps.
“We’re aiming to make it as smooth a transition as possible for everyone so please check our website for all the details, including a list of helpful FAQs.”
The Paisley Town Centre Car Parking Working Group is made up of elected members and officers from Renfrewshire Council, Paisley First, local public transport operators and local private car parking operators – and the pilot is the product of regular meetings to discuss positive plans for Paisley town centre.
Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “Free for Three is a crucial campaign for the future of the business community we represent in Paisley town centre and those who visit or would like to visit the town on a more frequent basis.
“With visitor attractions such as Paisley Museum and Paisley Town Hall now closed for refurbishment, it is crucial that the impacts felt by local businesses as a result are mitigated against.
“The public response to our Free for Three campaign has been fantastic and showed that many more people would visit Paisley to shop and socialise if there was an element of free parking on offer.
“We are looking forward to working with the council and our local businesses on maximising the opportunities that the parking pilot can bring to Paisley town centre.”
The six car parks involved in the pilot are Orchard Street, Weighhouse Close, Hunter Street (upper and lower), Oakshaw and School Wynd, a total of 186 spaces and approximately 20% of the council’s off-street parking spaces.
New parking meters are being installed in each of the six car parks which will accept both coin and contactless payment.
Every vehicle will still need to display a ticket, but free parking will be available for their first three hours after 10am, Monday to Saturday - after which charges will apply.
Charges are being reintroduced on a Saturday in all council-owned car parks, with the six pilot car parks having the first three hours free, as analysis has shown a lack of availability of spaces in the town centre with people using it as a park and ride facility.
Parking will remain free all day on a Sunday in all council-owned spaces.
There is no change to on-street parking charges, with evening and weekend parking remaining free, and the car park at Renfrewshire House will remain available for free on evenings and weekends.
For more information and a full list of FAQs, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/parking.
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