It is getting even easier for people to take advantage of all that the newly rejuvenated Stockton Town Centre has to offer.
Parking is now free for the first 60 minutes in all of the town's short stay, off-street car parks.
It means anyone visiting the town will have a chance to quickly pop to one of the growing range of quirky independents, collect a must-have item from a high street chain or even stop off for a drink or snack at a coffee shop, restaurant or bar without having to pay for parking.
The first hour is free and then it will cost just £1 for the next two hours and £1 per hour after that, with no maximum stay.
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: "We hope the offer of free parking will help encourage more people to shop in Stockton, visit our popular independent shops as well as high street favourites and enjoy the many events we regularly host in our town.
"It means people can easily drop-in and visit the many small businesses which are establishing themselves in the town or enjoy the many cultural and leisure opportunities available here - whether they be on the High Street or the Riverside which is just a short walk from the town centre."
Jemma Radestock, store manager of the Marks and Spencer branch on Stockton High Street, said: "We are delighted that Stockton Council has decided to introduce free for the first hour parking across a number of car parks in the town.
"It will be very positive in helping us to continue the strong trade we are experiencing in the newly regenerated town centre and it should encourage even more people to visit the wide range of shops and facilities that are on offer."
Charges apply from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, but do not apply on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
Visitors are advised to ensure that they still collect and display a ticket from the nearest machine even if they only intend to park for the free duration of one hour.
Any stay longer than an hour requires payment and display of a ticket as normal.
The car parks included in the scheme are:
- Bath Lane North
- Bishop Street
- Hume Street
- Municipal Buildings
- Prince Regent Street
- The Square
- Tower Street
- West Row
- High Street
For more information on the regeneration of Stockton Town Centre, visit www.rediscoverstockton.co.uk