Shoppers visiting Heanor town centre can now get money off their parking in a new scheme aimed at boosting trade.
The ‘payback scheme’, which will be piloted for six months, gives drivers a ten per cent discount on their parking fees at any of Amber Valley Borough Council’s car parks if they spend cash at participating shops.
So purchases of £17 would see drivers recoup a £1.70 parking charge.
Simon Minto, chairman of Heanor Traders’ Association, said: “We are hoping that this will generate trade.
“It’s a good idea because the second most important thing, after developing the market, that the traders’ association came up with is solving the problem of car parking in the town.
“You can park for free at Tesco, but you can’t do it up here at the Market Place.”
Now when you park in the town centre car parks, the machine will print a voucher displaying the Parking Payback Scheme logo in addition to your parking ticket.
Shoppers can then take the voucher into any of the shops displaying the scheme poster, spend the relevant amount and the retailer will refund the amount they have spent on parking.
Simon said he and Sue Clarke, from Heanor charity Salcare, picked up the idea from a Peak District and Derbyshire Town and Village Traders’ meeting and brought it before the Heanor Town Team and the town’s traders’ association.
Nine business have already agreed to get involved in the scheme which began on Monday, February 25.
Anthony Stephens Opticians, Frosts/Hallmark, Headway, The Market Cafe, Tree Tops Hospice Shop and Crest of the Wave, have signed up, as have Crystal Nails, on Church Street, and High Life Kitchens Ltd and Salcare Furniture Project on Ray Street.
Tickets can only be reimbursed once and the amount being reimbursed will not exceed the amount paid for parking.
For example, if you have only got a 40p parking ticket you will only be reimbursed 40p even if you spend over £5.
The Amber Valley Borough Council-backed bid to revitalise the town comes two years after plans were first mooted to turn around Heanor’s flagging retail fortunes.
A Heanor high street meeting in November 2011 backed by the Ripley & Heanor News saw 70 people fill the Wilmot Street Centre to discuss how to breath life into the once thriving market town.
Council regeneration manager Stephen Jackson, said: “We want to encourage people to come into Heanor and spend at independent shops. A similar scheme has been running in Matlock for a while now and it has done quite well.”
The council has reprogrammed parking machines to issue two tickets so shoppers can take the second to a participating shop.
Borough councillor Elizabeth Bowley said: “This is a great example of the council working in partnership with local traders to encourage people into Heanor to shop.
“Hopefully it will be successful and we can keep the scheme running in Heanor and perhaps even roll it out to the other towns in Amber Valley”.