Free parking passes for two town centre car parks could steer shoppers away from retail parks, according to Rugby First.
From mid-July, shoppers will be able to get a pass when they make a purchase from selected shops in the town thanks to a new scheme created by Rugby First and Rugby Borough Council.
The passes can be used at the John Barford and Newbold Road car parks and will be valid for up to four hours after 10am.
Users validate the pass by texting their car registration to the Rugby First mobile number printed on the ticket.
The passes, which can only be used once, can also be downloaded from the Rugby Town Centre website as part of the Smile loyalty scheme.
Aftab Gaffar, from Rugby First, said the initiative would be welcomed by businesses and customers.
He added: “There is a lot of competition from retail parks so we think free parking will help businesses on the high street. I hope people make the most of it and enjoy it.”
Rugby First will monitor how well-used the short-term scheme is and then consider bringing it back again later in the year.
Cllr Heather Timms, the borough councillor responsible for economic policy, said: “By rewarding customers who shop in Rugby with the opportunity to park for free, we’re giving residents another reason to shop local and support our town centre stores.”
Diane Griffith, owner of Terracotta Boutique in Bank Street, said: “We’ve signed up because this area desperately needs free parking to compete with out of town retailers.”
Michael O’Connor, owner of J Parriss Jewellers in Regent Street, said: “With all that’s going on at Elliott’s Field I think it’s terrific that we’re creating a more level playing field.”