Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Free Edinburgh city centre parking during the Festival

Image caption 53 roads in Edinburgh city centre will offer free parking after 17:00 during the festival

Parking in Edinburgh city centre is to be free from 17:00 during the Edinburgh Festival.

The 'Alive after 5' campaign, run by Edinburgh City Council, Marketing Edinburgh and Essential Edinburgh, will see shops remaining open until 19:00.

It will run from 6 August until 1 September and could be repeated during December for the winter festivals.

The £55,000 lost income from the free parking, will be paid for by the three campaign organisers.

Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh City Council's transport leader said: "This is a fantastic initiative that will make it more attractive for people to come into the city centre in the August evenings or for workers to stay longer at the end of their day.

"Edinburgh has a superb range of shops, restaurants and festival venues, and this is all about helping people to spend more time enjoying them during a period which is so important to businesses.

"While the free parking should encourage visitors to the city centre, there's also great public transport available, including frequent buses and trains, and several park and ride sites.

Mrs Hinds added: "We know there is pressure on Edinburgh businesses and we are committed to various initiatives that will support them.

"I'm also delighted that so many firms have put their backing to this campaign, ranging from small independent traders to household names such as John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Primark."

Lucy Bird, Marketing Edinburgh chief executive, said: "Businesses and shoppers have welcomed similar initiatives before, and recent experience in Manchester and Newcastle shows that it can make a real difference.

"We could see up to an extra 20% footfall in the city centre and we're really confident that this will help the shops that are extending their hours as well other traders."

'Helping trade'

Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh said: "We are fully behind this pilot and anticipate that it will help bridge that gap between when shops normally close and when people begin to visit restaurants and cafes.

"Given experiences elsewhere, we expect the additional opening time to help trading, in particular to be busier than early morning."

The streets include: Charlotte Square, Frederick Street, George Street, Glenfinlas Street, Hill Street, North Castle Street, North St Andrew Street, Queen Street, St Andrew Square, St Colme Street, Thistle Street, Young Street, Ainslie Place, Alva Street, Atholl Crescent, Chester Street, Coates Crescent, Drumsheugh Gardens, Great Stuart Street, Manor Place, Melville Crescent, Melville Street, Palmerston Place, Randolph Lane, Randolph Place, Rothesay Place, Rothesay Terrace, Rutland Square, Rutland Street, Stafford Street, Walker Street, William Street, Forth Street, Little King Street, Picardy Place, Register Place, Union Street, Waterloo Place, Annandale Street, Barony Place, Barony Street, Broughton Place, Brunswick Road, Brunswick Street, Elm Row, Gayfield Square, Gayfield Street, Hart Street, Hopetoun Crescent, McDonald Road, Montgomery Street, New Broughton, Windsor Street.

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