Later night Stevenage shopping to boost trade

SHOPS in Stevenage town centre will open longer from Monday in a trial to make shopping more convenient and boost trade.

More than 30 stores, including Marks and Spencer, Primark, TK Maxx, New Look, Top Shop, WH Smith, BHS and Next will be open until 6pm, while parking in the Westgate, The Forum, Marshgate and St George multi-storey car parks will be free from 4pm.

Work to improve the appearance of the town centre will also be carried out, including new signage and resurfacing and painting of the train station ramp.

The project is being paid for with a �58,000 Mary Portas Bid grant won by the borough council.

John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration at the council, said he hopes the trial, which will run until January 19, will improve the shopping experience in the town.

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Fellow councillor, Ralph Raynor, responsible for economy, enterprise and transport, added: “We have worked closely with local businesses, bus companies and the Town Centre Management company to make the improvements and we hope it will give residents the perfect excuse to shop after work in the run-up to the festive period to give local businesses a much-needed boost.”

During the scheme, car parks barriers will remain operational. A chip coin at taken on entry can be deposit on exit, without payment.

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The future of the scheme will be considered after the trial.

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