The Park for Free after Three scheme, funded by Dorking Town Partnership, allows drivers to park for free every Friday from 3pm in St Martin’s Walk, Wathen Road, Southside and West Street car parks. Tickets are not needed during the free parking periods.
The popular parking initiative was relaunched in May 2021 to encourage those residents who cannot walk, cycle or use public transport to get into Dorking – but instead choose to drive – to come and park for free and support the town’s businesses by shopping locally or having a drink or a bite to eat. The free parking scheme has now been extended a number of times and the decision has been taken to do so again.
Dorking Town Partnership has published statistics detailing a comparison between percentages of Friday footfall in 2019/20 and 2020/21. The figures show that, year-on-year, the free parking initiative has inspired an increase in the town’s footfall.
Charlotte Whitaker, Business Improvement District Manager for the Dorking Town Partnership, said: “We are pleased to be able to extend our Free After Three parking on Friday in St Martin’s Walk, Wathen Road, Southside and West Street car parks in partnership with Mole Valley District Council (MVDC). Footfall has now been up year-on-year for 8 of the 9 months since the free parking policy was adopted, and we hope to see this continue into 2022.”
Councillor Clayton Wellman, MVDC’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Economy and Security, said: “Making it easy for drivers to stop off on Friday afternoon, along with visitors who walk, cycle or travel via public transport, can only benefit the town’s businesses after a very challenging two years. It’s incredibly important to support our town centres and shop locally. So, it’s great that we can continue to work with Dorking Town Partnership and extend this scheme once again.
“Parking also remains free throughout the day on Sundays and on bank holidays in all our car parks, as well as every evening from six o’clock.”
There are posters advertising Park for Free after Three on MVDC’s parking machines. If money is accidently inserted during the free periods, it will be divided between the Chairman’s charities.”