PLANS to offer two hours free parking in Darlington council car parks was announced on Tuesday.

Apprentice reporters Georgia Banks and Paige McDermott spoke to traders in the town to get their response to the news.

Manager at Voodoo Cafe on Skinnergate, Alex Allison, believes the plan will be beneficial for independent businesses in Darlington, but thinks car owners may take advantage of the parking without using the shops.

He said: “Free parking will be a massive plus because people will just come in and park their cars, but at the same time people might abuse it.

"We don’t get as much pedestrian traffic as we did before, I don’t know why that is, people tend to go around the town centre rather than Skinnergate."

Other traders who shared their thoughts included Ramaran Ince, the joint owner of Sub Station on Post House Wynd. He thinks the parking proposals will bring more people into Darlington.

He said: "I think it will be very good for the town especially for the local businesses. I think it will draw lots of attention from the smaller towns.

Mr Ince also believes the free parking will benefit the town as he thinks some of the car parks in Darlington are overpriced.

He added: "There are some cheaper places to park in town but in general I think it’s very expensive.

"The cheaper ones are obviously out of the town, so you have to walk at least five to ten minutes."

Nick Bland who works at Eco-Cigarette on Skinnergate, thinks the parking will help businesses in the town centre.

He said: "More people in the town centre means more business. I think the sooner they get it done the better.

Obviously bollards stop people from driving in the town centre but having free parking round about the area will be beneficial."