WREXHAM Council has backed a scheme to offer shoppers free parking from noon every day in a bid to breath new life into the town centre.

At their meeting yesterday, members of the executive board approved a 12-month pilot scheme, starting on October 31, removing charges on two key car parks.

Motorists will be able to leave their vehicles for free from midday Monday-Saturday in the People’s Market multi-storey and from Monday-Sunday at Crescent Road.

The free-after-noon scheme has grown out of consultation with town centre traders who told the council such a move would provide a welcome boost to flagging trade.

Outlining the scheme to board members, highways officer Darren Williams said: “The aim is to encourage and facilitate economic activity in the town centre and improve accessibility for transport.

“Generally speaking, all our council-run car parks are well attended and operating at the 85 per cent level.

“But there are are some empty spaces at certain times of the day in some of them.”

Lead member for transport, Cllr David Bithell, said: “We now have real-time information on our car parks, which shows that the People’s Market and Crescent Road are not well attended after noon, when usage suddenly dips down.”

Mr Williams added: “We estimate lost ticket sales would amount to about £40-50,000 a year.

“However, the empty spaces on these car parks is not working in the way we want them to.

“Actually, it’s a case of suck it and see with this scheme.”

The board unanimously approved the pilot scheme and a report on how it is operating will be brought back to members in a year’s time.