Rugby Borough Council due to extend free parking in Newbold Road car park

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A FREE weekend parking trial at Newbold Road car park is set to continue.

The scheme, implemented earlier this year to boost town centre trading, was found by some to improve business, increase visitors to the town centre and make them stay longer. It is estimated to cost Rugby Borough Council around £5,000 a year. Rugby’s cabinet is set to approve an extension at a meeting on Thursday.

Thirty eight businesses responded to a survey by town centre management company Rugby First guaging its success. Ten per cent said the trial had improved business and 27 per cent said had slightly improved. Twenty four per cent agreed strongly that it encouraged more visitors to the town centre and 36 per cent agrees a little. Sixty per cent felt the trial encouraged visitors to stay longer.

A report from council officers to councillors said: “The usage of the Newbold Road car park has increased over the trial period, with more vehicles being in the car park.

“Before the trial and at its start it was usual to have around 100 cars in the car park at mid morning and this reduced to around 80 by mid afternoon. Through the summer the usage has been regularly over 150, with some days approaching and exceeding 200.”

Officers said collecting accurate car park usage data was difficult due to factors that included this summer’s wet weather.