An early Christmas wish has been granted for shoppers and businesses in Mendip.
Free festive parking will come into effect next month, as Mendip District Council has agreed to suspend charges on all of its car parks from 2pm each day and offer free parking all day on New Year's Day.
The free period will start on Monday 10 December and will last for two weeks. The aim is to encourage shoppers to spend their money in the district's many and varied businesses during the Christmas period.
Free Christmas parking has been running for several years and this year will again see all of the council's 31 car parks covered by the scheme.
However, the council is warning shoppers that the time restrictions will still be enforced in areas where parking is only allowed for a specified time.
For instance, the one hour maximum stay limit in Wells Market Place will still be in place, and motorists are advised to check price boards in car parks for restrictions. These time restrictions will remain in place to ensure that everyone has a fair change of benefiting from free parking.
Mendip District Council's enforcement manager, Nicola Keyworth-Wright, said: "Every year we receive requests from the public and business community for the council to help boost trade during the Christmas period.
"We want the whole district to benefit, which is why we have included all of our car parks - from those people that live and work in Mendip, to the businesses and shoppers who spend their money in the run-up to the festive period."
Shoppers are also reminded that a number of Mendip's car parks already offer a free parking facility. Shepton Mallet's Great Ostry, Regal Road West and Petticoat Lane all offer one hour free parking. Goswell Road and Church Road in Street offer two hours free parking and free parking is available in Frome at the Market Place and Catherine Street car parks.
Cllr Nigel Taylor, Mendip District Council's portfolio holder for regulatory services, which includes car parks, said: "The aim of the free Christmas parking scheme is to help encourage shoppers into Mendip and spread trade across the day.
"To be able to offer this additional free parking at Christmas, we have to balance the spirit of the festive season with the financial loss in revenue to the council. We want to support Christmas shopping in Mendip and as a further measure of seasonal goodwill, to encourage drivers not to drink and drive, the council are extending free parking to cover all day on New Years Day."