SHOPPERS will be able to park for free in Hartlepool town centre on the next three Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.

Beginning this Saturday, December 7, and continuing on December 14 and 21, the offer extends to all Hartlepool Borough Council managed town centre car parks and on-street pay and display parking areas.

The town’s multi-storey car park, which is usually closed on Sundays, will also be open on December 15 and 22.

This is the seventh year that the Council has decided to waive pre-Christmas Saturday charges.

The move is designed to boost trade in the town centre and ease the burden on financially-squeezed shoppers in the run-up to December 25.

Tony Hanson, Assistant Director (Environment and Neighbourhoods), said: “The free parking offer has proved to be very popular in previous years and we hope that will be the case again.

“The aim is to help local businesses by encouraging more people – both residents of the town and others from outside the area - to shop for Christmas in Hartlepool.”

Mark Rycraft, Manager of the town’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, added: “In addition to free parking every Sunday, being able to park for free on selected Saturdays during December will, I’m sure, make the customer visit a little more enjoyable. The centre is also open on Boxing Day when parking is free all day too.”