From November 1 parking will be free in Hastings city centre for four months – but there will still be time limits.
Work on revitalising and invigorating the central city is firmly on the agenda of Hastings District Council and the Hastings City Business Association.
Free parking is one of the ways of attracting people into the city, to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, says Hastings District councillor Sandra Hazlehurst. “It’s about feeling welcomed into our beautiful city centre, rather than rushed and having to hunt about for coins.
“It’s also about having consistent parking rules across Hastings – whether you’re in Havelock North, the central city, or in the private shopping centres. Wherever you are, you’ll have free parking.”
The time limits have been retained to ensure people do not “hog” parks. It is important to retailers and customers that everyone has access to parking. Those who abuse the time limits will be ticketed.
It will initially be a four month trial, until the end of February, with council to decide then on whether parking charges will be reinstated, if there will be a further trial, or if ratepayers will be asked if it should be made permanent.
Business association general manager Susan McDade said the move put the central city on a par with other retail centres that provide free parking for their customers.
“It is a positive sign for our central business district that the council has committed to revitalising the central city as a priority over the next few years. While the free parking is not a silver bullet it is a step in the direction to make us not only the most beautiful city but the most liveable city as well.
“Our retailers and cafes are really happy to have this four month free parking trial to give them a much needed boost in the crucial Christmas period. The business association will be surveying the businesses and the public to evaluate the trial.”
Events in the city, especially in central city mall, Civic Square and the newly finished Albert Square, are also livening up the city atmosphere. There have been live performances in Albert Square all week this week (commencing October 5) and more events are in the planning.
In the wake of a symposium on the central city in August, other initiatives on the drawing board include encouraging inner city living above shops, drawing retail into a tighter area, actively marketing the outskirts to businesses suited to the edges of retail, and continuing to ask retailers and residents to put forward their ideas for spicing up the city.
McDade says the council’s support for the city centre is very encouraging. “I see tangible actions coming out of the symposium. We are partnering with council on numerous activities designed to bring people into the city. Watch this space.”
How it works:
Coloured plates reading “Free parking, limit one hour”, or “Free parking, limit two hours”, will be placed over parking meters.
Council’s six off-street car parks will also be free, with a time limit of three hours.
Drivers who stay longer than the designated time limit will be ticketed.
There is no change to the management of leased parking and mobility parking.