Olympics sailing car park charges cut in Weymouth

  • 1 August 2012
  • From the section Dorset
Media captionPark and ride charges have been reduced

Parking charges in Weymouth have been cut following lower than expected visitor numbers during the Olympic sailing events.

Retailers have complained business is suffering from the resort being quieter than anticipated.

The council said it would "help local businesses and encourage visitors".

While the ticketed sailing spectator area has sold out, the 15,000-capacity "live arena" on the beach has rarely had more than 1,000 people at a time.

Parking at the Monkey's Jump park and ride site near Dorchester will be free on Wednesday and Thursday, and after 14:30 BST on Friday.

Free shuttle buses will take passengers to the centre of Weymouth.

Image caption The 15,000-capacity "live arena" on the beach has struggled to draw in the crowds

At Preston Beach and Mount Pleasant car parks, which serve ticketed spectators, charges have been reduced from £14 to £10.

The council and Olympic organisers had predicted up to 60,000 visitors to the town each day during the sailing events off Weymouth and Portland.

Businesses have blamed warnings about road closures, congestion and delays for putting off potential visitors.

Fish and chip shop owner Mark Bennett said: "Weymouth is open, we're all prepared and ready to serve and feed you.

"The sailing is fantastic, but things, unfortunately, just aren't working."

Organisers of the Bayside music and activities festival have reduced ticket prices as daily attendances have been half the 30,000 hoped for.

Angus Campbell, chairman of Dorset's Olympic Board, said: "There have not been as many visitors to Weymouth as originally planned for and we are doing what we can to encourage people to come to the town.

"Weymouth has a tremendous amount on offer for visitors and we have had rave reviews from those who have already come to soak up the Olympic atmosphere."

He said he hoped the medal races at the weekend would boost visitor numbers.

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