FREE town centre parking has been announced to encourage residents to "shop local" this Christmas.

Maldon District Council has announce there will be free parking in all public Maldon town centre car parks every Thursday from 2pm throughout November and December and all day on Christmas Eve.

It hopes that everyone will take advantage of this in the run up to the festive season to support high street businesses.

Read more:

>>> Popular Fiver Fest to make return to high street

>>> Plans to turn high street treatment rooms into a flat refused

>>> IN PICTURES: High street lights up in pink and blue for Baby Loss Awareness Week

Wendy Stamp, councillor and leader of Maldon District Council, said: "It’s great to be able to support the Maldon High Street following last year’s restrictions.

"We recognise that Coronavirus has been very challenging for all businesses in the district, and particularly our high street retail, and hospitality services.

"We have chosen to reallocate the ‘free parking’ days last year along with this year’s allocation, to ensure local businesses can truly benefit from them and the removal of restrictions.

"I would remind residents and visitors continue to respect people’s choice to continue to where face coverings, remind people to test regularly and keep washing and sanitising their hands to keep life moving.

"It will enable residents and visitors to the Town to shop local and shop safely in a more relaxed atmosphere with some shops remaining open later in the evening on a Thursday.

"I encourage everyone to 'keep it local' this year."

Allison Gray, chairman of Maldon Business Board and owner of Maldon's Willow and Fox said: "The Maldon Business Board wholeheartedly supports the free half days of parking which the Council have offered.

"This provides a good balance, supporting local businesses while spreading out demand for parking over the Christmas period.

"Local businesses have worked hard to provide safe shopping experiences and we would like to thank the Council for working with us during this year.

"We look forward to wishing all our returning customers a Merry Christmas and safe New Year."