Free parking on offer in Thanet to encourage people to shop local

Leopold Street multi-storey

Free parking will be on offer in Thanet towns on Saturdays in the lead up to Christmas Free Saturday parking is already on offer at:

Mill Lane Car Park – Margate

Harold Road Car Park – Cliftonville

St Peter’s Park Road Car Park – Broadstairs

Cannon Road Car Park – Ramsgate

Thanet council is also hoping to encourage people to shop local this Christmas by providing free parking on Saturday 12 December and Saturday 19 December in the following car parks:

Market Street – Margate

Crofts Place – Broadstairs

Royal Harbour (multi-storey) – Ramsgate

In Birchington High Street, TDC offers 30 minutes free additional parking with a valid pay and display ticket until 31 December.

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services at Thanet District Council said: “We know that our local businesses have had a tough year, encouraging people to shop locally is one way to help. “Thanet’s towns are full of independent shops, offering a wide selection of gift ideas, often made locally by local people. It’s a great way to support the local economy and you’ll also be making a huge difference to a local business.

“Local businesses have made a huge effort to create safe, COVID-secure environments, we’ve got our COVID-19 Street Wardens out daily providing reassurance and reminders of the rules. The number of COVID-19 cases in Thanet remains high so it’s still really important to remember to keep our distance, wear face-coverings and maintain good hand hygiene. We also need to stick to the rules about mixing households – tempting as it is to meet up with friends at what’s usually a sociable period of time – reducing the spread of coronavirus has to be the priority.

“We want people to feel that they can come out and get what they need. Offering these two additional dates with more free parking is something we can do as a council to facilitate that.

“The message to our residents is that if you are going to do Christmas shopping then please shop safely, and if you can, shop locally –  this year in particular, your purchases will potentially help keep our local businesses going.”

Ramsgate mayor Raushan Ara said she was pleased with the extra free parking sites after receiving numerous requests from local businesses and residents about the matter.

She said: “ I contacted Madeline Homer, chief executive at TDC, concerning this matter for consideration. Consequently, we now have free parking in the town centres on Saturdays, leading up to Christmas.

“On behalf of the residents and business owners of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate, I would like to say a huge thank you to Madeline Homer, and everyone else involved in making the decision to allow free parking in Ramsgate, Croft Place in Broadstairs, and Market Street car park in Margate, on December 12 and 19.

“The Thanet economy will thank you for this – encouraging our local community to shop locally, and support our local businesses, which are facing a desperate situation, overcoming the difficult times that everyone is facing. Let us all enjoy the festive season, and at the same time, take responsibility for our own safety, and that of others, too.”

Thanet council has a range of measures in place to support local businesses and ensure they are opening safely and adhering to the latest regulations. Businesses are invited to join the dedicated Facebook Group – a go-to online community, for more information.

The COVID-19 Street Wardens patrol the town centres and high footfall shopping areas daily, 9am to 6pm and are there to proactively help to manage pedestrian flow and queues, encourage people to adhere to social distancing, and remind them of the need to wear face coverings in stores unless exempt.

Information on all Thanet District Council’s car parks can be found online:


  1. In this time of keeping our social distance, TDC should be offering free parking on other days of the week as well. Even if only for a couple of hours – say from 12.00 – 2pm. This would encourage people like myself who will avoid shops at weekends when I know they are busy.

    • Steady on Jan, TDC making that decision must have reminiscent of Whoopy Goldberg handing over that cheque in Ghost!!

    • 100% agree Jan. This actually feels like a stupid move.

      Condensing the free parking appeal to just Saturday seems to be fine deaf to what is actually happening.

      TDC do better. Think about the pandemic and reverse this decision or make it all week.

  2. There are hardly any shops left in Ramsgate thanks to the authorities .Free parking should be available some weekdays as a matter of course. Thanet has oni of the highest parking fees in Kent.that alone is enough to put people off shopping in the town’s. WWX is a difficult option if you are elderly and lacking mobility x

    • Westwood Cross has not been designed for the convenience of pedestrians. Safe crossing-places are few and far between. It’s designed for car users. And it’s very, very ugly.

  3. Too little too late
    High streets destroyed by over inflated rates pushing companies out of town. Constant parking restriction ‘upgrades’
    Business owners were never listened to, and so now all we have are charity shops, building societues and fast food.

    • You simply amaze me with your comment. Margate and Cliftonville were great places to shop years ago. Now, I do not bother using the limited offerings. You obviously have not lived in Thanet very long and no experience of the wonderful small shops that were open, but, sadly now gone.

      • It doesn’t matter how long I’ve lived here. I have seen the change in shopping habits from the 60s to the present day and it’s very sad to see the demise of all the small locally-owned shops we had in our town centres. But Paul is wrong to say that “all we have are charity shops, building societies and fast food.”

        • Quite right i forgot all the boarded up vacant festering buildings. Seriously walk up and sown margate and cliftonville count up the shops closed, and then tell me this is a place worth spending a saturday.

        • Marva Paul is not wrong in his comments Take a look at the number of fast food outlets at Westwood cross The whole area is blighted by them. If a shop shuts down in town it opens up either as a charity shop, fast food shop or worse still an estate agents, charity shops I can live with but not the others there needs to be a limit on how many of a particular type of shop opens in an area but that will never happen because all TDC can see is the money.

    • Just keep on contradicting me Marva what have I ever done to you? You do not know me ,you know nothing about so do you pick on me for the fun of it? in which case you should be ashamed of yourself if you have an explanation please share it, as I do not wish to waste any more of my precious time on people like you.

  4. Blame the people who started shopping in Westwood Cross when it opened and the people who shop online, instead of going to local shops.

    • Are you telling people you have never shopped at Westwood Cross? I am house bound so explain to me how do I shop for gifts etc. except by going online? Everything is not so black and white in this world.

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