Cut-price parking will tempt Christmas shoppers to spend their seasonal cash in Torbay, councillors are hoping.

From December 1 to Christmas Eve, there will be reduced fees in selected Torbay Council car parks, allowing shoppers and visitors to pay for an hour and stay for the day.

This is the third year in a row that the council has offered the parking promotion to support local businesses during the festive period.

Research conducted by Torbay’s development agency the TDA found that around 40 per cent of high street businesses in the bay did not have a website, and as businesses without a web presence rely solely on customers visiting in person, the Christmas parking offer is a way in which the council is encouraging people to support local businesses, particularly after a difficult couple of years.

According to data provided by Inform Direct, 882 businesses were started in Torbay in 2020, and the TDA has reported more start-up inquiries than ever before since March 2020.

Council leader Steve Darling said: “I’m delighted that this initiative is launched just in time to help with Small Business Saturday when people are encouraged to support independent traders.

“Local businesses are at the heart of Torbay, and we want to make it as easy as we can for people to shop locally and support local business, especially over the Christmas period.

“Despite the influx of visitors we’ve had over the summer, it has been another hard year for some of our local businesses, and we still must all do all we can to support them.”

The scheme will run in Torquay’s Lower Union Lane and Union Square car parks, at Paignton’s Victoria multi-storey and in Brixham at the Central, Freshwater and Oxen Cove car parks.

The fee of £1.40 will cover parking from arrival until midnight the same day. At Brixham Central the £1.40 fee will allow for up to a maximum stay of three hours, which would normally cost up to £3.50.

At Lower Union Lane payment should be on entry and not on exit.

The usual free street parking will apply on Sundays in December in Torquay’s Magdalene Road, Lymington Road, Castle Road, Union Street and Babbacombe Road, and also in Palace Avenue, Paignton.

Torbay Council Cabinet member Mike Morey added: “There are so many fantastic shops in our town centres.

“This December, I’d encourage people to visit a town centre they may not normally visit to see for themselves the variety on offer.

“The parking promotion gives shoppers and visitors the confidence to explore, relax, enjoy and support local businesses.”