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Pay-and-display charges at council-run off-street car parks across Oban are to be suspended for three weeks in the run-up to Christmas.
In an effort to encourage shopping visits, BID4Oban has agreed to foot the bill to make council-operated car parks free-to-park between December 4 to 11.
And on Thursday, Argyll and Bute Council voted to suspend off-street parking across the region – including Oban – between December 11 until Christmas Eve.
An amendment to extend the free period even further into January was defeated by a single vote at a meeting of the full council.
BID4Oban said it instigated the request for free parking in the town and was able to finance the £2,000 cost of the the additional week due to funding from the Scottish Government via the Scotland’s Towns Partnership.
Andy Spence, BID4Oban chief executive, said: ‘This request is vitally important to the business community of Oban.
‘It will go some way to encouraging people to shop safely and local in Oban at no cost.’
The free car parks will be Albany Street, Corran Halls one and two, the North Pier
Lochavullin, Market Street and Tweedale Street.
Mr Spence said he was delighted at the approach the council was taking in supporting the business community through partnership working.
A report to councillors on Thursday said: ‘This year, more than ever, with the ongoing pandemic, it is hoped the suspension of car parking charges will encourage residents to remain within Argyll and Bute and shop local.’
The report added: ‘The estimated loss in car parking revenue for the two week period (Argyll and Bute wide) is estimated to be approximately £20,000 however, it is considered the suspension of charges is considered to provide an overall benefit to the local economy.’
Notices will be displayed in council car parks, advising of the suspension of charges.