In order to support local businesses in Highcliffe, Christchurch Council is offering free parking for a two-hour period during the day at Wortley Road car park.
The free period, identified by local businesses as the best time, is from 1pm to 3pm each day from Tuesday 3 December to Monday 31 March.
Cllr Trevor Watts, chairman of Christchurch Council’s Resources Committee, said: “We are very aware that the shopping centre in Highcliffe has been suffering from the recession with businesses closing and not all being replaced. Our figures also show falling usage of the Wortley Road car park, indicating that the village was attracting fewer shoppers.
“The council decided to offer some help and asked some of the businesses in the village what would make a difference. Top of the list was two hours of free parking between 1pm and 3pm because that seems to be when trade falls away.
“As part of our annual review of car parking charges, we have agreed to this request over the winter period and hope that business will pick up as a result.”
Traders have also asked for the highway signage directing drivers to the car park to be improved. Discussions have been on-going with Dorset Highways and initial indications are that improvements can be made.
Councillors and officers are continuing to meet to look at other initiatives which will help existing and new businesses in Highcliffe as well as local residents and the wider community in the years to come.