SOUTHAMPTON businesses have welcomed plans to scrap evening parking charges.

The local business community has backed the city council’s decision to scrap evening parking charges in off-street car parks in the city centre from June 21.

As reported, parking will be free Monday to Saturday from 6pm to midnight and on Sundays from 12pm to 6pm.

It comes as part of a move aimed at supporting local businesses recover from the pandemic.

A final decision is expected to be made by full council next month and a public consultation on the move will end tomorrow.

Cllr Jeremy Moulton, cabinet member for growth at Southampton City Council, said:  “This policy is all about getting Southampton moving and doing what we can to support businesses as they reopen after an incredibly difficult period.

"I’m really optimistic about the future and the amazing opportunities ahead as we plot a course to recovery.”   

It comes as Mayflower Theatre will reopen to the public tomorrow.

Michael Ockwell, Mayflower Theatre chief executive, said: “We welcome and are delighted by the change to free parking after 6pm which will greatly benefit Mayflower Theatre and MAST Mayflower Studios customers and indeed the night-time economy of the city.

"We look forward to welcoming Mayflower Theatre customers back into Southampton when we reopen from Friday 25 June.”

Giles Semper, executive director of GO! Southampton, the Business Improvement District, added:  “We are delighted that the council is removing evening and Sunday parking charges.

"We have a fantastic food and leisure offer in the city with our world-class restaurants, cinemas and cultural attractions.

"We want as many people to be able to access these great businesses as possible – by whatever transport mode – and enjoy a relaxing day or night out.

"This is particularly important given the massive challenges these businesses have faced over the period of the pandemic.”

Charges will continue to apply: Monday to Saturday (8am to 6pm) in all council off-street car parks (including multi-storey car parks); Monday to Saturday (8am to 8pm) and Sundays/Public Holidays (12pm to 6pm) in all council on-street pay and display locations.