More than 2,000 Sunderland car parking spaces become free in lead-up to Christmas

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More than 2,000 car parking spaces in Sunderland are to become free after 3pm on weekdays in the run-up to Christmas.

The scheme, organised by Sunderland City Council, starts on Monday, December 12 and will run until Friday, December 30.

It applies to all council car parks, such as St Mary's, Sunniside and the Civic Centre every Monday to Friday after 3pm, with normal charges applying on weekends.

'Free After 3pm' will also continue to run every Thursday throughout the year.

Coun Michael Mordey, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for city services, said: "The city council continually monitors all parking arrangements in the city centre and regularly looks at introducing new schemes and incentives.

"The Christmas parking offer is a good opportunity for more people to visit the city centre to do their shopping and support local traders.

"We are seeing significant regeneration and investments works in the city centre which should help the footfall into the city centre.

"Free After 3pm is an opportunity to explore the offers and attractions the city centre has, whether it's shopping or leisure, food and drink, or museums, exhibitions and shows."

The council has provided free car parking in the city centre in the run up to Christmas since 2014.

Gemma Dishman, of the Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID), said: "It's great to see free parking after three being introduced again this Christmas, as this provides yet another reason for shoppers to come into the city to enjoy all it has to offer.

"People can help support businesses and traders by visiting the city centre."

For full details of all of the car parks included, visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/free-parking