THERE will be free parking in Hereford on three Wednesday evenings in the run up to Christmas – two fewer than usual.

Hereford Business Improvement District, which represents more than 500 city businesses, said it chose to only have three evenings of free parking before Christmas, despite the fact it was offered five.

Mike Truelove, BID's chief executive, said Herefordshire Council offered the shopping centres, Hereford City Council and the BID a choice of free parking after 4pm on five days.

But it was decided, based on football figures for the last six years, that it would be better to have three before Christmas and two in early 2022 when "shops need a lift".

So it means on December 8, 15 and 22 there will be free parking in most of Herefordshire Council's pay and display car parks in the city.

It includes Maylord Shopping Centre, Old Market Shopping Centre and on-street parking, but not Friars Street.

The full list:

  • Bath Street
  • Bus Station
  • Friars Street
  • Gaol Street
  • Garrick Multi Storey
  • Greyfriars car park
  • Maylord
  • Merton Meadow
  • St Martins
  • St Martins 2
  • Union Walk
  • Venns Close
  • West Street
  • Wye Street

Mr Truelove also said BID would be putting on "world class" walkabout performers and live music in High Town on December 15, 18, 19 and 22. There will also be street music on Wednesday, December 8.

He said: “This year, Herefordshire Council offered the shopping centres, city council and Hereford BID a choice as to when they wanted the free parking shopping nights in Hereford, with up to five days being available.

Based on six years of footfall data, and national consumer habits, we consulted with partners and unanimously felt it a better use of the offer to take three late nights this year and use the remaining time early in 2022, when shops need a lift.

"Traditionally there have been five free parking nights on Wednesdays leading up to Christmas, starting the first Wednesday after Armistice Day in November.

"However, from experience we know these earlier free parking nights are generally not used by the public who increasingly prefer to leave it closer to Christmas before making a day/evening of it.

"Shops also have the difficult decision each year as to whether to open late for free parking so early in the season when the footfall is not always there – the public simply feel it is too early to come out, preferring to wait until the last few weeks before the big day”.

At the request of Hereford BID and in consultation with partners, the remaining two days given from Herefordshire Council for free parking has been allocated for Saturday, February 12 from midday.

There will be a "Valentine's-themed campaign of entertainment and consumer offers" to entice shoppers in.

The Saturday is considered a "premium day" and will use up the "two days credit", Mr Truelove said.