Talks are to be held about the possibility of introducing a free parking system in Aberdeen in an effort to boost business.
Retailers and eatery owners gave their backing to proposals by Aberdeen Inspired to see charges removed from council car parks during “twilight” hours.
It comes after NE1, Newcastle’s business improvement district team, gave a presentation showcasing its award-winning Alive After Five scheme.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We have nothing to lose here, it’s quite a compelling case.
“We know they’re two different cities, we understand it needs to fit with Aberdeen.
“Now we will get feedback by going out to businesses in the coming days and weeks to see what this could look like.”
Alive After Five is a scheme that has seen charges stop at Newcastle City Council’s car parks after 5pm in an effort to increase the number of people coming into the area.
NE1 carried out surveys and found the vast majority of customers said free parking would make them more likely to stay in the city after work.
Businesses extended their opening hours until 8pm as a result of the initiative.
Compared with what was spent in 2010 in Newcastle’s city centre, there has been an additional spend of £708 million after 5pm over six years. There have been an estimated 11.6 million more visitors after 5pm since its launch in October 2010.
Newcastle was hit badly by the recession and similarities have been drawn with the impact the oil downturn has had on the Granite City.
Stephen Patterson, NE1 director of communications, said: “The shutters would come down and people evaporated to the suburbs. Those additional business hours plugged the gap created by the recession. There are so many positives going for Aberdeen, these are really exciting times.”
Plans to pursue proposals received unanimous backing by those at the presentation.
Now talks will be held with more businesses, customers and council officers about how the scheme would shape up in Aberdeen.