Free parking in Bolton to continue as scheme doubles number of users

Free parking in Bolton to continue as scheme doubles number of users

Deane Road car park

The Octagon car park

Topp Way car park

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , politics reporter

FREE weekend parking in Bolton’s main multi-storey car parks has seen the number of users almost double.

Now the council has pledged to continue the scheme until May next year.

Bolton Council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to fund the scheme, which applies to the Octagon, Deane Road and Topp Way NCP car parks.

Newly released figures show the number of vehicles parking during the free times — including weekends, Bank Holidays and after 3pm during the Christmas and New Year period — was 164,000 last year. This compared to 86,000 drivers using the three NCP car parks in the previous 12 months.

The extension of the scheme will again see the barriers lifted at the car parks after 3pm in the run up to Christmas.

Refunding NCP for the free parking costs the council £280,000 a year — but leader Cllr Cliff Morris said it was good value for money as a way of bringing more people into the town centre, particularly around Christmas.

He said: “The figures are really good evidence of the fact that we have got an increase in volume of people coming into the town centre.

“We sit down with the key retailers on a regular basis, and they have got a chance to influence decisions we take, as part of the partnership approach we have with them.

“It’s a key part of our strategy for the town centre, and the commitment to retain it includes the Christmas period which is part of our ongoing support for businesses in the town centre.

“It is also an important part of our marketing of Bolton — particularly for events like the Food and Drink Festival.”

Manager of Crompton Place shopping centre Malcolm Angus said their businesses had reaped the benefits of free parking in the town.

He added: “As a main shopping centre in the heart of the town centre, we fully back Bolton Council’s plans to extend their free parking initiative.

“Anything which strives to encourage more people to come and shop in the town receives our support whole heartedly.

“It is important we work together with key stakeholders such as Bolton Council to continue our efforts to make Bolton a first class shopping destination which is easy and convenient for people to visit.”

A spokesman for Market Place said: “The extension to free car parking really reflects the council’s vision to continually attract more and more people to Bolton and we wholeheartedly welcome anything that brings more shoppers to the town.

“We have bolstered their campaign with our own 90-minute free parking in our 480 capacity multi-storey car park which has proven hugely successful with both visitors and retailers alike, increasing footfall and sales in our 41 stores.”

Comments (24)

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6:39am Tue 19 Aug 14

Citizen Cane says...

so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking.
so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking. Citizen Cane
  • Score: 13

7:59am Tue 19 Aug 14

John Edwards says...

What a laugh after 3 pm. Most people will have done their shopping by then and want to get back home. Can you just see the chaos if we all went to park our cars at 3 pm. Why not start this at 9 am and give us all free parking or is it for those who can't get out of bed and shop later. Two of these car parks are to far out of town, after the Octagon, the only other multistory car park is shut and being demolished. It should never been allowed to get into that state, unless it was never built to correct standards. Buildings have been up for over a hundred years, how long has this been up, around 40 / 45? Yes and as for free, as Citizen Cane says, we pay from our "Rip Off Tax" for this, including people who have not got a vehicle.
What a laugh after 3 pm. Most people will have done their shopping by then and want to get back home. Can you just see the chaos if we all went to park our cars at 3 pm. Why not start this at 9 am and give us all free parking or is it for those who can't get out of bed and shop later. Two of these car parks are to far out of town, after the Octagon, the only other multistory car park is shut and being demolished. It should never been allowed to get into that state, unless it was never built to correct standards. Buildings have been up for over a hundred years, how long has this been up, around 40 / 45? Yes and as for free, as Citizen Cane says, we pay from our "Rip Off Tax" for this, including people who have not got a vehicle. John Edwards
  • Score: 8

8:21am Tue 19 Aug 14

marco999 says...

So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land?
So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land? marco999
  • Score: 21

9:03am Tue 19 Aug 14

waka flocks flame says...

John Edwards wrote:
What a laugh after 3 pm. Most people will have done their shopping by then and want to get back home. Can you just see the chaos if we all went to park our cars at 3 pm. Why not start this at 9 am and give us all free parking or is it for those who can't get out of bed and shop later. Two of these car parks are to far out of town, after the Octagon, the only other multistory car park is shut and being demolished. It should never been allowed to get into that state, unless it was never built to correct standards. Buildings have been up for over a hundred years, how long has this been up, around 40 / 45? Yes and as for free, as Citizen Cane says, we pay from our "Rip Off Tax" for this, including people who have not got a vehicle.
Most people have done their shopping by 3? Surely most people are working in the week until past 3. As for the car parks being too far from town that's only the case for the disabled and the lazy being that they are literally a couple of minutes walk out of the centre. As for people who don't drive paying for this out their taxes well that's just life I haven't needed the doctor, an ambulance, a fire engine, job seekers allowance etc but I pay for them its part of living as a community. Bolton Council are terrible and have (and still do) made some appalling decisions but their free parking scheme is actually one of the few good ideas that they've had and it appears to be working and when the Market Place cinema and food hall opens hopefully they will go hand in hand in returning Bolton town centre to something like its former glory.
[quote][p][bold]John Edwards[/bold] wrote: What a laugh after 3 pm. Most people will have done their shopping by then and want to get back home. Can you just see the chaos if we all went to park our cars at 3 pm. Why not start this at 9 am and give us all free parking or is it for those who can't get out of bed and shop later. Two of these car parks are to far out of town, after the Octagon, the only other multistory car park is shut and being demolished. It should never been allowed to get into that state, unless it was never built to correct standards. Buildings have been up for over a hundred years, how long has this been up, around 40 / 45? Yes and as for free, as Citizen Cane says, we pay from our "Rip Off Tax" for this, including people who have not got a vehicle.[/p][/quote]Most people have done their shopping by 3? Surely most people are working in the week until past 3. As for the car parks being too far from town that's only the case for the disabled and the lazy being that they are literally a couple of minutes walk out of the centre. As for people who don't drive paying for this out their taxes well that's just life I haven't needed the doctor, an ambulance, a fire engine, job seekers allowance etc but I pay for them its part of living as a community. Bolton Council are terrible and have (and still do) made some appalling decisions but their free parking scheme is actually one of the few good ideas that they've had and it appears to be working and when the Market Place cinema and food hall opens hopefully they will go hand in hand in returning Bolton town centre to something like its former glory. waka flocks flame
  • Score: 2

9:13am Tue 19 Aug 14

stereo_world says...

Citizen Cane wrote:
so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking.
You mean the people who park in the town centre don't pay council tax? News to me.

What's there to moan about here? Seriously?

It's the council trying to spend money to attract people back to the town. For as long as i've commented on this site, I've seen someone bawling about parking being too overzealous - well here it is. Here's a gift from the council to you. It's the best you're going to get out of them.

I can think of many worse things to spend tax payers money on.
[quote][p][bold]Citizen Cane[/bold] wrote: so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking.[/p][/quote]You mean the people who park in the town centre don't pay council tax? News to me. What's there to moan about here? Seriously? It's the council trying to spend money to attract people back to the town. For as long as i've commented on this site, I've seen someone bawling about parking being too overzealous - well here it is. Here's a gift from the council to you. It's the best you're going to get out of them. I can think of many worse things to spend tax payers money on. stereo_world
  • Score: 5

9:52am Tue 19 Aug 14

Wolfie190 says...

After 3pm!! I thought they were trying to encourage shopping in Bolton, they're clueless throw some more money at the pavements in the town centre that dont need doing but will do them anyway.
After 3pm!! I thought they were trying to encourage shopping in Bolton, they're clueless throw some more money at the pavements in the town centre that dont need doing but will do them anyway. Wolfie190
  • Score: -3

9:59am Tue 19 Aug 14

thomas222 says...

They are paying for car spaces that would be empty at those times anyway. Well done NCP great way of charging for your would be empty spaces and shame on Bolton Council for paying for them. Idiots.
They are paying for car spaces that would be empty at those times anyway. Well done NCP great way of charging for your would be empty spaces and shame on Bolton Council for paying for them. Idiots. thomas222
  • Score: 4

10:13am Tue 19 Aug 14

waka flocks flame says...

Wolfie190 wrote:
After 3pm!! I thought they were trying to encourage shopping in Bolton, they're clueless throw some more money at the pavements in the town centre that dont need doing but will do them anyway.
Its only after 3 in the week when most people are working its free all weekend
[quote][p][bold]Wolfie190[/bold] wrote: After 3pm!! I thought they were trying to encourage shopping in Bolton, they're clueless throw some more money at the pavements in the town centre that dont need doing but will do them anyway.[/p][/quote]Its only after 3 in the week when most people are working its free all weekend waka flocks flame
  • Score: -3

10:28am Tue 19 Aug 14

Hong Kong Fui says...

Not to be to cynical, but to apply the increase in numbers to more visitors to Bolton is typical of politicians manipulating the statistics to suit their own agenda. Isn’t the increase in usage more likely down to those relocating from all the other fee charging sites across Bolton?

Sadly private enterprise has a strangle hold on parking within Bolton and why would you venture into Bolton when you can buy what you need from Middlbrook in HORWICH or the Trafford Centre which has free parking. There has been research going back decades that says the same thing time and again, free parking attracts shoppers!

I for one, like thousands of others won’t come into Bolton because of the over eager traffic wardens ready to pounce... this approach to traffic enforcement seems to be the biggest turn off for many visitors worrying about how long you have left on the meter, ultimately spoiling the shopping experience!
Not to be to cynical, but to apply the increase in numbers to more visitors to Bolton is typical of politicians manipulating the statistics to suit their own agenda. Isn’t the increase in usage more likely down to those relocating from all the other fee charging sites across Bolton? Sadly private enterprise has a strangle hold on parking within Bolton and why would you venture into Bolton when you can buy what you need from Middlbrook in HORWICH or the Trafford Centre which has free parking. There has been research going back decades that says the same thing time and again, free parking attracts shoppers! I for one, like thousands of others won’t come into Bolton because of the over eager traffic wardens ready to pounce... this approach to traffic enforcement seems to be the biggest turn off for many visitors worrying about how long you have left on the meter, ultimately spoiling the shopping experience! Hong Kong Fui
  • Score: 15

11:38am Tue 19 Aug 14

Beyond News Forum says...

marco999 wrote:
So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land?
You cannot make it up... I think this is as a direct reply to my comment yesterday about Middlebrook. Middlebrook is trouncing Bolton because of all-day, every-day free parking.

Gossing over what is effectively killing the town is a joke yet again. As for the council paying NCP... absolutely insane. Completely mad... why not have council run FREE car parking and get this town back on track??? With that radical overhaul.
[quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land?[/p][/quote]You cannot make it up... I think this is as a direct reply to my comment yesterday about Middlebrook. Middlebrook is trouncing Bolton because of all-day, every-day free parking. Gossing over what is effectively killing the town is a joke yet again. As for the council paying NCP... absolutely insane. Completely mad... why not have council run FREE car parking and get this town back on track??? With that radical overhaul. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 8

12:41pm Tue 19 Aug 14

wsw69 says...

Citizen Cane wrote:
so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking.
Exactly! And that is how thick Cliff the stiff Morris and his cronies are.

I doubt any trader in the town centre has seen any real increase at all in takings, and if that is the case it's a very poorly spent £280,000 of tax payers cash.

And on another note, how many of those 'extra' people parking and visiting the town actually think 'Oh, that was nice, I must come back again!'

Not so many if any.
[quote][p][bold]Citizen Cane[/bold] wrote: so it's not free - those who pay council tax fund other people's parking.[/p][/quote]Exactly! And that is how thick Cliff the stiff Morris and his cronies are. I doubt any trader in the town centre has seen any real increase at all in takings, and if that is the case it's a very poorly spent £280,000 of tax payers cash. And on another note, how many of those 'extra' people parking and visiting the town actually think 'Oh, that was nice, I must come back again!' Not so many if any. wsw69
  • Score: 4

1:35pm Tue 19 Aug 14

cliff4treasurer says...

Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre.
I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over.
Business people who know about income generation and expenditure
and would get shut of the parking wardens!1
Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre. I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over. Business people who know about income generation and expenditure and would get shut of the parking wardens!1 cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 10

1:59pm Tue 19 Aug 14

WATOAOW says...

cliff4treasurer wrote:
Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre. I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over. Business people who know about income generation and expenditure and would get shut of the parking wardens!1
So every Tory led council in the land is traffic warden feer is it?
[quote][p][bold]cliff4treasurer[/bold] wrote: Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre. I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over. Business people who know about income generation and expenditure and would get shut of the parking wardens!1[/p][/quote]So every Tory led council in the land is traffic warden feer is it? WATOAOW
  • Score: 2

1:59pm Tue 19 Aug 14

WATOAOW says...

*free
*free WATOAOW
  • Score: 2

2:26pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Peakster says...

Of course people will use the multi-storey car parks if they are free otherwise they would park on the surface level carparks which are cheaper than the multi-storey carparks.
Of course people will use the multi-storey car parks if they are free otherwise they would park on the surface level carparks which are cheaper than the multi-storey carparks. Peakster
  • Score: 4

6:05pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Terry McC says...

Middlebrook Retail & Leisure Park costs nothing end of
Middlebrook Retail & Leisure Park costs nothing end of Terry McC
  • Score: 4

7:34pm Tue 19 Aug 14

wsw69 says...

WATOAOW wrote:
cliff4treasurer wrote:
Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre. I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over. Business people who know about income generation and expenditure and would get shut of the parking wardens!1
So every Tory led council in the land is traffic warden feer is it?
Someone is not being realistic in thinking that any Tory run council is Traffic Warden free.

Bolton is dead on it's knee's. All it's awaiting is the lid being nailed firmly down on it's own coffin lid.

ANY council who can drag extra wonga out of peoples pockets will do it, without conscience, and at any cost, so long as they can get away with it.

Bolton Council is run by shysters, dodgy 8a5tards, two-faced lying 5h1tes and I would not p155 on anyone of them if they were on fire, even with petrol.
[quote][p][bold]WATOAOW[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cliff4treasurer[/bold] wrote: Your all missing the point,Yesterday Bolton got a slating from the guy who owns the closing down chippy so lo and behold today the BN goes into overdrive to present us with a load of weighted statistics as a way of showing how the council are "working with partners" to help attract people to the town centre. I have a better idea and it's a lot cheaper, all resign and let the Tory's take over. Business people who know about income generation and expenditure and would get shut of the parking wardens!1[/p][/quote]So every Tory led council in the land is traffic warden feer is it?[/p][/quote]Someone is not being realistic in thinking that any Tory run council is Traffic Warden free. Bolton is dead on it's knee's. All it's awaiting is the lid being nailed firmly down on it's own coffin lid. ANY council who can drag extra wonga out of peoples pockets will do it, without conscience, and at any cost, so long as they can get away with it. Bolton Council is run by shysters, dodgy 8a5tards, two-faced lying 5h1tes and I would not p155 on anyone of them if they were on fire, even with petrol. wsw69
  • Score: 6

8:00pm Tue 19 Aug 14

hoppyhol says...

Cliff says: “The figures are really good evidence of the fact that we have got an increase in volume of people coming into the town centre."

Erm, no they are not, they are evidence people are using them when free. If not compared to the undoubted fall in useage of charged parking facilities in the same period it means nothing in relation to an increase in visitor numbers.

The council should be congratulated for trying an initiative such as this, although it seems that they could have negotiated a better rate with NCP.

If this is how the leader of our council analyses figures and comes up with conclusions then god help us!
Cliff says: “The figures are really good evidence of the fact that we have got an increase in volume of people coming into the town centre." Erm, no they are not, they are evidence people are using them when free. If not compared to the undoubted fall in useage of charged parking facilities in the same period it means nothing in relation to an increase in visitor numbers. The council should be congratulated for trying an initiative such as this, although it seems that they could have negotiated a better rate with NCP. If this is how the leader of our council analyses figures and comes up with conclusions then god help us! hoppyhol
  • Score: 4

8:06pm Tue 19 Aug 14

thomas222 says...

hoppyhol wrote:
Cliff says: “The figures are really good evidence of the fact that we have got an increase in volume of people coming into the town centre."

Erm, no they are not, they are evidence people are using them when free. If not compared to the undoubted fall in useage of charged parking facilities in the same period it means nothing in relation to an increase in visitor numbers.

The council should be congratulated for trying an initiative such as this, although it seems that they could have negotiated a better rate with NCP.

If this is how the leader of our council analyses figures and comes up with conclusions then god help us!
Thats what you get with a ex wine waiter running the show. No disrespect to wine waiters if there are any left any more btw.
[quote][p][bold]hoppyhol[/bold] wrote: Cliff says: “The figures are really good evidence of the fact that we have got an increase in volume of people coming into the town centre." Erm, no they are not, they are evidence people are using them when free. If not compared to the undoubted fall in useage of charged parking facilities in the same period it means nothing in relation to an increase in visitor numbers. The council should be congratulated for trying an initiative such as this, although it seems that they could have negotiated a better rate with NCP. If this is how the leader of our council analyses figures and comes up with conclusions then god help us![/p][/quote]Thats what you get with a ex wine waiter running the show. No disrespect to wine waiters if there are any left any more btw. thomas222
  • Score: 9

8:08pm Tue 19 Aug 14

piszoff says...

marco999 wrote:
So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land?
Don't forget NCP has to pay a business tax.
[quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: So let me get this right. The council first of all sells off the land to NCP who build a car park on it, and then they pay NCP over a quarter of a million pounds per year to let cars park on that land?[/p][/quote]Don't forget NCP has to pay a business tax. piszoff
  • Score: 2

9:03pm Tue 19 Aug 14

atlas123 says...

The thing is the free carparking costs the council £1.20 per car.


I dont think too many people would sniff at paying £1 to park for as long as you want.
The thing is the free carparking costs the council £1.20 per car. I dont think too many people would sniff at paying £1 to park for as long as you want. atlas123
  • Score: 3

11:27pm Tue 19 Aug 14

nigella farrage says...

As I will have a direct bus to Bury from the end of the month (thanks Firstbus with new Route 511) it now means it will be better for me to catch the bus into Bury, where there are shops and entertainment venues, then to go into Bolton (which is only 10 minutes away by bus) where there is nothing.
As I will have a direct bus to Bury from the end of the month (thanks Firstbus with new Route 511) it now means it will be better for me to catch the bus into Bury, where there are shops and entertainment venues, then to go into Bolton (which is only 10 minutes away by bus) where there is nothing. nigella farrage
  • Score: 0

4:16am Wed 20 Aug 14

rostron says...

Cmon Bolton council, have some logical thinking !
Now you give free parking at 3pm? In 2wks, schools reopen, & a lot of the shoppers will be picking their offspring up, about 3-30pm.
Who wants to get their kids, run to Bolton to shop at this time, then have to deal with homeward traffic of workers, & probably very hungry children as well by this time!
Plus, don't forget they have after school clubs, homework, etc.
Then said women have to start making the tea.
As the run up to Xmas comes, they don't want the children with them, so that on Xmas day, Father Christmas leaves all the surprises.
Now was this thought of by a University degree person, Ill stick with my Secondary Modern education I got in the 60's thank you.
Cloud cuckoo land again !
Cmon Bolton council, have some logical thinking ! Now you give free parking at 3pm? In 2wks, schools reopen, & a lot of the shoppers will be picking their offspring up, about 3-30pm. Who wants to get their kids, run to Bolton to shop at this time, then have to deal with homeward traffic of workers, & probably very hungry children as well by this time! Plus, don't forget they have after school clubs, homework, etc. Then said women have to start making the tea. As the run up to Xmas comes, they don't want the children with them, so that on Xmas day, Father Christmas leaves all the surprises. Now was this thought of by a University degree person, Ill stick with my Secondary Modern education I got in the 60's thank you. Cloud cuckoo land again ! rostron
  • Score: -2

8:20am Wed 20 Aug 14

rostron says...

rostron wrote:
Cmon Bolton council, have some logical thinking !
Now you give free parking at 3pm? In 2wks, schools reopen, & a lot of the shoppers will be picking their offspring up, about 3-30pm.
Who wants to get their kids, run to Bolton to shop at this time, then have to deal with homeward traffic of workers, & probably very hungry children as well by this time!
Plus, don't forget they have after school clubs, homework, etc.
Then said women have to start making the tea.
As the run up to Xmas comes, they don't want the children with them, so that on Xmas day, Father Christmas leaves all the surprises.
Now was this thought of by a University degree person, Ill stick with my Secondary Modern education I got in the 60's thank you.
Cloud cuckoo land again !
As you can see from time of posting, up all night & missed where it said weekend, so obviously my comments don't apply, mind you last sentence might !
[quote][p][bold]rostron[/bold] wrote: Cmon Bolton council, have some logical thinking ! Now you give free parking at 3pm? In 2wks, schools reopen, & a lot of the shoppers will be picking their offspring up, about 3-30pm. Who wants to get their kids, run to Bolton to shop at this time, then have to deal with homeward traffic of workers, & probably very hungry children as well by this time! Plus, don't forget they have after school clubs, homework, etc. Then said women have to start making the tea. As the run up to Xmas comes, they don't want the children with them, so that on Xmas day, Father Christmas leaves all the surprises. Now was this thought of by a University degree person, Ill stick with my Secondary Modern education I got in the 60's thank you. Cloud cuckoo land again ![/p][/quote]As you can see from time of posting, up all night & missed where it said weekend, so obviously my comments don't apply, mind you last sentence might ! rostron
  • Score: -1

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