Weymouth businesses are being encouraged to offer free parking incentives to encourage more people to come into the town centre.

As reported, Friths Opticians on St Mary Street is offering customers £10 off a £50 purchase to help cover parking costs.

The idea is to get more people to come into town who may otherwise be put off by the high car parking charges in order to boost trade.

The Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce (WPCC) has welcomed the scheme and sees it as ’ very positive’ for the town.

READ: Weymouth parking prices 'unacceptable' despite price freeze

The chamber’s vice president, Dominque Manasseri, says she is ‘excited’ to see the opticians ‘leading the way’ to encourage more people to visit the town centre.

She said: “The Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce (WPCC) views this initiative very positively.

“It demonstrates a proactive approach to supporting local businesses and enhancing customer experience, which is something we strongly encourage.

“Incentives like free parking can significantly boost foot traffic and sales for local retailers, creating a more vibrant and accessible town centre.”

READ: Free parking agreed for Weymouth events to be held in 2024

Businesses in Dorchester already have a scheme in partnership with the Business Improvement District (BID) and it is thought a similar scheme could work in Weymouth.

It offers two hours free parking to customers who spend £10 with traders signed up to the scheme.

It has been hailed as a success for over a decade and has more than 60 shops signed up.

The scheme works by giving people who park in the town a two part ticket, one half of which is worth £1.50, the equivalent of two hours parking in the town.

The cost of the scheme is split between the Dorchester BID and local businesses equally.

READ: Weymouth traders slam council claims on parking income

Phil Gordon of Dorchester BID: “The scheme has been working successfully now for over a decade.

“It allows Dorchester to offer visitors a great unique selling point of free parking to encourage visitors to shop here.”

The WPCC is now encouraging businesses in Weymouth to adopt a similar scheme as it would not only benefit customers but the economy of the local community as well.

Dominique added: We would certainly encourage other businesses to consider similar schemes, as they not only benefit customers but also contribute to the overall economic health of our community.

"The success of the Dorchester BID scheme shows that such initiatives can have a meaningful impact, and we are excited to see Friths Opticians leading the way in Weymouth."

READ: Weymouth traders welcome council review to car park charges

Dorset Echo: Nadene Robertson of Friths Opticians in Weymouth Nadene Robertson of Friths Opticians in Weymouth (Image: Nadene Robertson)

Nadene Robertson, of Friths Opticians, would also welcome the idea of local businesses coming together to help tackle the high car parking charges.

When told about a group of independent businesses in Bournemouth that offer customers free parking she said she is 'up for it'.

Nadene added: “I think something needs to be done, but not on my own.

“I would go to the other shops and see what they could offer.

"If it works for us why wouldn’t it work in other shops.

"If everybody did something like that it will help the town centre.

"It's getting worrying seeing shops close and nothing replacing them - it's a shame - Weymouth is such a lovely place.

"The more we can get into the town the better it is for all of us.”