VISITORS and shoppers across County Durham can enjoy free late afternoon and evening parking over the festive period.

Durham County Council will repeat its Free after 3 offer giving motorists free parking in its car parks after 3pm, every day in December.

Off street car parks and on-street spaces will benefit from the waiving of charges and stickers will be placed on all payment machines to let drivers know.

Free parking will also be available across the county after 10am on Saturday, December 1 in council spaces to coincide with Small Business Saturday, a national campaign which encourages people to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

Cllr Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Free after 3 aims to support people in the busy run up to Christmas. It can be an expensive time for people and this is one less spend to worry about.

“It also supports shops who rely on footfall for a prosperous festive period. This goes some way in encouraging people to shop local and support our small businesses that form the backbone of our communities.”

Refunds will not be given if drivers pay for parking when not necessary.