Dorset

Parking fee axed to help traders in West Dorset

Council chiefs have scrapped car parking charges in West Dorset until Christmas Day in a bid to boost local trade affected by the winter weather.

More than 30 council-operated spaces will be free from 0800 GMT on Thursday.

West Dorset District Council said it was to support local businesses and to encourage shopping in towns including Dorchester, Bridport, and Sherborne.

Drivers can park for free in long stay spaces and for up to four hours in short stay spaces until Saturday.

Bags will be placed on all parking meters in the district council's off-street car parks.

David Evans, council director of planning and environment, said: "The recent weather has inevitably had an impact on trade and we thought this would be one way to try and boost the economy between now and Christmas."

The district council recently scrapped evening and Sunday charges in its car parks and plans to freeze short stay parking charges in 2011.

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