December Sunday parking concessions set to return after a four-year hiatus

Free parking every Sunday in December in the town centre is set to be approved this week by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) in the first Christmas parking scheme since 2019.

The scheme will mean parking at Royal Victoria Place and Meadow Road car parks every Sunday across December will be free.

The decision is set to be approved but is subject to a ‘call-in’ – a procedure whereby an executive decision may be examined by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. If the free parking scheme is not ‘called in’, it will be approved on Friday November 10.

The Council and RTW Together hope the concessions will encourage more people to the town centre over the Christmas period, helping local businesses.   

Councillor Justine Rutland, Cabinet member for Economic Development and BID Board member said: “I’m pleased that we are planning to offer shoppers free parking days over the festive period. Local businesses have told us this is important to them, so it is great we’re able to help.

“I hope it encourages lots of people to come into town on Sundays, which is traditionally one of the quieter days for retailers.”

She added: “One of the wonderful things about Royal Tunbridge Wells at Christmas is there are masses of things to do as well as shop. Plan a day out and take advantage of amazing food and drink offers – there’s panto at Assembly Hall Theatre and Trinity Theatre, Christmas shows, concerts and church services, and not forgetting skating, curling, a new Ferris wheel and Father Christmas in Calverley Grounds.”

According to a council report, the free parking concessions at both car parks, which have occupancy rates of around 30 per cent, will result in a loss of £36,000 in revenue – the loss will be incorporated into the Council’s RVP budget.

The parking concessions the Council offered in 2019 resulted in unchanged usage. However, TWBC believes trying a concession again this year could be more successful due to the ‘the support of local businesses, the BID and the new centre management’.

Free parking at Royal Victoria Place and Meadow Road car parks will be every Sunday between December 3-31. There will be a chance for last-minute shoppers to take advantage of the free parking on Christmas Eve, which also falls on a Sunday.

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