Ding dong merrily on high, in Mansfield the tills are ringing!
There has been a massive increase in shoppers using Mansfield town centre this Christmas, despite the gloomy worldwide economic crisis.
Latest footfall counter statistics show that the number of shoppers visiting Mansfield last week (week commencing 15 December) was up by more than 62,000 on the same week last year, a rise of more than 27%.
Every day of the week was busier than the same week in 2007, with Thursdays showing the sharpest rise, up from 34,000 to 47,000 visitors.
The figures also show that Mansfield attracted nearly 13% more shoppers than the average for the 'portfolio family' of UK towns and cities it measures against. Mansfield's 'portfolio family' also includes Bridgend, Doncaster, Nottingham, Rotherham, Scunthorpe and Wakefield.
In fact, visitor numbers in Mansfield were also 10% higher than the average of all towns and cities nationwide monitored by Springboard, the company which provides footfall figures to Mansfield District Council.
Figures for the previous week (week commencing 8 December) also showed a 13% increase in visitor numbers on the same week in 2007
The upturn in visitors vindicates Mansfield District Council's decision to introduce free parking periods as part of credit crunch busting measures to help local families and support businesses.
It is free to park in council car parks on Wednesdays and Thursdays (10am onwards) and from 3pm on all other days. The free parking periods are in place until 11th January next year.
People taking advantage of the free parking offer are reminded that they must still display a valid ticket from the machine in their car during the free parking periods and that they should check signage in the car parks for full details.
The Council provides around 2,400 parking spaces in 12 town centre car parks, with tariffs normally ranging from 60p to £1 per hour.
It's estimated that introducing free parking will cost the Council around £124,000 in lost income, with the shortfall being met from its reserves.
Mansfield District Council Executive Mayor Tony Egginton said, "I am delighted that so many people are opting to shop local and support Mansfield businesses this Christmas. At a time of economic uncertainty, it is incredible that we have seen such huge increases in shoppers compared to last year and to other towns and cities."
"We were able to make the free parking offer because of our careful management of budgets during better times and the healthy reserves we accrued. It's not a bottomless pit by any means but I am pleased we have been able to help and with such a positive outcome for local families and businesses."
Further information on free parking is available by calling 01623 463073.