Free parking is coming to Essex towns from next month, in a move the local council hopes will boost trade in its major centres over the Christmas period.

Parking in council-run pay and display car parks in Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Stansted Mountfitchet will be free on certain days over November and December.

At a cabinet meeting on October 20, Uttlesford District Councillors said the plans could increase footfall in the district’s town centres, promote local shopping and improve access to local services.

Councillor Richard Freeman said one of the days would be Christmas lights switch-on day in Saffron Walden, set to be November 18.

He said: “We have a policy of having some free car parking in the major towns over Christmas. It has to be sorted out well in advance.”

Parking in the three towns, except Fairycroft Road car park in Saffron Walden, will be free all day on November 25 and 26 and between Christmas day and New Year’s Day.

Additionally, it will be free in Saffron Walden, except Fairycroft Road, on 18 and 30 November and 7, 14 and 21 of December, the report continues.

In Stansted Mountfitchet, parking will be free on 1, 8, 15 and 22 November and in Great Dunmow on 1, 8, 15 and 22 of December.

There is an expected loss of £11,910 to the council for the three town centres and £10,745 for between Christmas and New Year.