Great Yarmouth Borough Council is urging residents to shop locally and safely this Christmas
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is urging residents to shop locally and safely this Christmas, supported by the coronavirus marshals, free town centre weekend parking and magical new decorative lighting displays.
On Friday, December 4, the council staged a successful "virtual light switch-on", with a social media video showcasing beautiful displays lighting up Great Yarmouth town centre and seafront, Hemsby's Beach Road, and Gorleston High Street and seafront.
The video has been viewed more than 15,000 times so far, and many people visited to see the new magical illuminations for themselves. People are encouraged to take selfies at the 20-metre-long multi-colour Tunnel of Light in the Market Place, which is on every day from noon to late, and post pics using #DifferentLightGY
The coronavirus marshals will continue to be out and about in high footfall locations over the festive period, including between Christmas and New Year, providing high visibility reassurance and advice to shoppers and businesses alike.
To support the work of the marshals and support local traders, the council has this week launched a fun festive campaign on social media, encouraging people to "Be a Christmas Angel" and "Shop like a Wiseman" by shopping locally and safely.
Shoppers are encouraged to adhere to the social distancing rules, queue responsibly, follow the safety signage and floor markers in shops, remember to wear a face covering for going into shops or on public transport, and consider shopping locally at quieter times.
To further support traders, free parking is being introduced over the festive period on both Saturdays and Sundays, from December 12 to January 3, in six town centre car parks: King Street, Market Place, George Street, Brewery Plain, Stonecutters and Fullers Hill. In previous years, the free festive parking was on Sundays only.
Parking remains free in most town centre surface car parks every weekday from 4pm, and free from noon on Wednesdays, at King Street, Brewery Plain and George Street. Plus free parking incentives are still available for holders of a Resident Advantage Card. The card gives a third hour's parking completely free to holders who pay to park for two hours in any town centre car park.
Cllr Carl Smith, the council leader, said: "This year has been particularly challenging for everyone, including retailers, but we're doing everything we can to back our local businesses and support a safe, local and fun Christmas shopping experience.
"The funding for the beautiful decorative and Christmas lighting has been secured by the council from external sources, as part of investing in a brighter future for local businesses and the economy. We've already had lots of positive public feedback about our magical displays, especially the Tunnel of Light, so do come on down, experience the spectacle for yourself and back our local traders.
"Many businesses have also praised our dedicated coronavirus marshals, who are helping traders and shoppers alike by offering advice on safety guidelines, high visibility reassurance, as well as flagging any issues. Meanwhile, free parking across both days of the weekend will provide an additional incentive to visit, to shop locally and safely."
Jonathan Newman, Town Centre Manager, said" The addition of free parking in town centre car parks on Saturdays will provide a much needed boost for retailers during this peak trading period. I hope that the free parking and the fantastic new lighting displays will encourage Christmas shoppers to support their local businesses as we approach the end of a year that has been very challenging for everyone. The businesses have been grateful for the support of the Council's Covid Marshalls who have worked closely with the Town Centre Partnership's street wardens and CCTV operators to promote a safe environment for people to visit, shop and work in the town centre this Christmas."
The lights are the start of "See Great Yarmouth in a Different Light", a vibrant new winter programme of Covid-safe activities and experiences supporting recovery in the borough, organised by the council and supported by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), the Town Centre Partnership, the Government's Covid recovery fund, and other partners. The programme will brighten up and animate Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Hemsby during the darkest months, with a range of fun and festivities being planned into 2021. It is part of longer-term ambitions to develop a winter season as part of fostering a more resilient, year-round visitor economy.