A campaign to provide free parking in Shrewsbury during the summer has been hailed as a major success with more people visiting the town centre compared to last year.

Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District) and Shropshire Council teamed up to offer free parking in Frankwell and Abbey Foregate car parks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August – and town centre businesses said they saw a marked improvement in trading.

Rachel Williams, Marks and Spencer store manager and member of the Shrewsbury BID board, said: “The free car parking initiative this August was a huge success.

“We received fantastic feedback from our customers who were delighted that it enabled them to enjoy their shopping experience without the time pressure from car parking.

“The initiative had a really positive impact on our Shrewsbury store as we saw an uplift in shoppers over the two days each week, and we hope that neighbouring stores felt its benefits with increased footfall to the local high street.”

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said the town centre footfall figures had been very encouraging during August.

“May and June were particularly challenging for many businesses with the major roadworks and poor weather having a big impact,” he said.

“We wanted to do something which encouraged people back into the town centre so it was great to work with Shropshire Council to arrange the free parking promotion during August.

“As well as encouraging people to visit the town, the free parking was designed to make it more appealing for people to stay for longer rather than having to rush back to their car before the ticket ran out.

“The anecdotal feedback we had from traders suggests this was successful, with more people choosing to stay to enjoy a coffee or take more time shopping while they were in town.”

Figures show that footfall in Shrewsbury town centre increased by 2.2% during August compared to the previous year. During the same period there was a 3.5% decrease across the West Midlands, a 2.3% decrease for other market towns and an overall 1.6% decrease across the UK.