A PETITION has been launched calling for free parking in a town centre over Christmas.

Business owner Martin Needham has set-up the online petition which calls for Blackburn with Darwen Council to suspend charges for people heading into the town during the festive period.

He said it would ‘help stimulate business growth and ease costs for shoppers’.

Currently parking is free on all council-owned car parks within Blackburn town centre on Sundays and bank holidays.

But Mr Needham said he would like to see free parking in the weeks either side of Christmas Day to give shoppers and businesses some festive cheer.

Mr Needham, of Melfort Close, Blackburn who runs his own online clothing business ‘amdapparel’, said: “I am currently running an online retail outlet which sells men’s and women’s wear.

“I would like to set-up a shop in Blackburn town centre but one of the things that is stopping me is the issue of parking.

“To park in the town centre over the week, you’re looking at a couple of pounds a day at least.

“Prices are increasing and we’re all paying our council tax, yet car parking charges seem to have gone up.

“So I’d like to see this situation addressed, particularly over Christmas and on a Saturday.

“I think free parking on each week either aside of Christmas Day would help address this and stimulate business growth and ease costs for shoppers.

“There are a lot of shops in Blackburn and with it being Christmas, and it would be nice to help them.

“ Deepdale has free parking, The Trafford Centre is free and even Darwen has free parking, so hopefully Blackburn can do the same.

“I don’t know what difference the petition will make with it being so close to Christmas, but I thought it was worth a try.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s website states that parking in the town centre is predominately pay and display car parks and on-street bays, divided into long and short stay.

Feilden Street multi storey car park is also a ‘pay-on-foot’ car park situated in the town centre.

Blackburn with Darwen council have been approached for comment.

To sign the petition, visit http://blackburn.cmis.uk.com/blackburn/ePetitions/tabid/96/ID/11/Free-Parking-in-Blackburn-for-Christmas.aspx.