Shoppers in Petersfield and Alton can start their Christmas spree by parking for free on Saturday 5 December.
East Hampshire District Council car parks will be completely free on Saturday 5 December, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Fees will be waived in car parks in the two towns – EHDC car parks elsewhere are free all year round – as part of the council’s drive to promote Small Business Saturday.
The national campaign seeks to encourage shoppers to focus on local, independent businesses.
Research shows that for every £100 spent in a local business £68 is likely to stay in the community, compared to just £43 of that spent in a national chain.
Cllr Nick Drew, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “At East Hampshire District Council we know that small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy.
“As a result we work hard to support the vital independent businesses wherever we can, whether it is through £500 grants for start-ups, business advice or supporting apprentices.
“We want to be one of the most business-friendly councils in the country and our commitment to providing free parking on Small Business Saturday shows that we recognise the importance of our independent shops and the benefit they bring to the local economy.”
Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Deputy Leader, said: “Saturday 5 December is one of the biggest shopping days of the year as the Christmas period gets underway in earnest.
“We recognise the value of small businesses and we know that if you have plenty of healthy and successful independent businesses you have a healthy and successful economy in East Hampshire.
“Shopping locally not only means you get a fantastic personal service but it also ensures that more of your money will stay in the area and that benefits everyone.
“Free car parking is a great way to kick-off the Christmas shopping period. I hope everyone takes full advantage of the day and remembers to pay our small businesses a visit.”
Find out more about Small Business Saturday at www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.
The car parks to be free on the Saturday 5 December are:
Lady Place Public Gardens