TRADERS in Leigh Park are hoping for a boost this Christmas by bringing in parking reductions.
Park Parade and Greywell Precinct have bucked the trend with more and more shops opening up.
Just last week a new greengrocers opened opposite Netto and Hampshire Country Council announced it is investing around £100,000 in upgrading the town centre.
Now Helen Bolton, owner of Best Pet Food and Grooming, in Park Parade, and the other business people on the Leigh Park Traders Association, have persuaded Havant Borough Council to agree to a special parking offer.
Shoppers buying one hour free parking in December can get the next hour free.
Mrs Bolton said: ‘Each year a Christmas grotto is held in Greywell for the children, run by volunteers.
‘This year it will be opened on November 30 at 2pm. There will also be a lantern parade at 5pm and the lights will be switched on.
‘To support it the shops will be staying open later and having festive-themed stalls at the front.
‘We have also managed to persuade the council to agree to us having “buy one hour get the next hour free” in the car park throughout December so, again, that’s encouraging more people into the area.
‘I know a lot of the traders have got some really good Christmas special offers on.’
Shops are offering other incentives such as Christmas clubs where shoppers can choose what they want and pay an amount off each week until they are ready to pick their products up.
Lots of shops are also doing discount vouchers.
Many of the stores are now owned by the same landlord, Mark Smith, who has bought up the leases to offer to businesses at reasonable rents. Mr Smith has invested £1m in Leigh Park town centre over the past 18 months.
It is a far cry from two years ago when almost half the shops were boarded up and some had been empty for more than 20 years.
Mrs Bolton added: ‘More shops are opening every month, it’s absolutely excellent.’
The £100,000 investment announced last week will be spent on improving public transport in the area – particularly upgrading the bus interchange. It will also go on improving pavements, road surfaces, seating, clocks and litter bins.