Thousands of car parking spaces in Bolton town centre will be free after 3pm each weekday from Thursday, November 16.

Council chiefs have announced the festive treat for shoppers using the multi-storey car parks at the Octagon, Deane Road and Topp Way.

The free after 3pm offer coincides with the start of Bolton’s Christmas Lights switch-on and late night shopping. This year, Bolton celebrity Paddy McGuinness will be lighting up the town centre at the switch on show, which is sponsored by Market Place Shopping Centre.

The weekday parking initiative, which is in addition to the free weekend and Bank Holiday parking on offer already at these sites, will run until Friday, January 5.

Parking will be free on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – all these days fall either on a weekend or a Bank Holiday when there is already no charge for parking.

Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Our free weekday parking after 3pm offer has always proved really popular with shoppers and town centre businesses.

“We are committed to making it as easy and affordable as possible for shoppers to visit and to boost town centre trade, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.

“We are also planning a special festive programme and the free parking extension will help with this.”

The council’s partners NCP, who operate the Octagon, Deane Road and Topp Way, is implementing the scheme.

This year’s Winter Festival, organised by Bolton Council in association with the University of Bolton, starts on December 2 with a giant snow slide and covered ice skating rink on Victoria Square. In addition, from December 9 to 20, there will be a festive Christmas Market in and around Victoria Square and an Alpine Ski Lodge bar.

Tickets have now gone on sale, for more information visit www.boltonwinterfestival.com, @BoltonWinterFestival on Facebook or @BoltonWinterFes on Twitter.

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