Plans to open up Paisley town centre car parks for free throughout December are set to be considered by councillors next week.

As part of a drive to support local businesses and encourage people to Spend Local during the festive period, all council-owned car parks in the town centre would be free to park in from 1st December to 3rd January.

With the current Coronavirus pandemic causing reduced visitor footfall, Renfrewshire Council is proposing the festive initiative to encourage residents to visit their local town centre and support local businesses.

If the plans are approved, parking would be free in all Paisley off-street council car parks although charges would still apply in on-street spaces.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “At this time, we want to do all we can to support local businesses in Renfrewshire as we recognise the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic has had on them.

“We’re working hard to support them to access the funding provided by the Scottish and UK Government, as well as creating the £1.3million Renfrewshire Coronavirus Business Support Fund which was developed following detailed discussion with 500 local businesses and provides a package of interest free loans and grants for businesses affected by the pandemic.

“Therefore, by providing free parking in Paisley town centre as part of our Covid-19 response, we would hope to encourage people to shop in the town centre and recognise the value of local products, people and produce at this most difficult of times.”

The offer of free parking would build on the current parking pilot running in Paisley town centre which sees people given their first three hours of parking free at six of the town centre’s car parks, and this pilot was recently extended for six months at the Leadership Board in September.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “Our businesses need all the support possible during these difficult times and this proposal would give people further opportunity to visit Paisley town centre and spend locally during the festive period.

“The pandemic has made it hard for businesses as they’ve had reduced income and footfall for a sustained period of time so this proposal aims to make it as easy as possible for local people to visit the town centre and give those businesses the much needed support they require.

“Please continue to follow the restrictions in place to avoid any further measures required for Renfrewshire and ensure that retail businesses can remain open in advance of and over the festive period.”

The proposal will be considered by the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board on Wednesday 4th November 2020.