Free parking is to be introduced at Ellesmere Port in a bid to boost business for the town.

The move will let drivers park free of charge for up to four hours to encourage more visitors and support shops along Whitby Road and the rest of the town centre.

Running for a full year from this April , the pilot scheme at the Westminster car park will be funded by the town centre improvement advisory body.

Cheshire West and Chester Council executive member for localities, Cllr Lynn Riley, said: “This is a great example of the council working in partnership with the local community to highlight their needs and find real solutions.

“The town centre improvement advisory body is made up of local people and organisations who are all working towards one aim - making Ellesmere Port a better place to live, work and visit by improving the town centre for all.

“I hope offering free parking will ensure more people visit the shops and market within the town centre, something which will no doubt be a real boost for traders.”

Previously costing 50p to park for up to two hours and £1 all day, the cost of staying longer than four hours will remain at £1.

Motorists should continue to show a pay-and-display ticket in their vehicles to indicate arrival times and prevent overstaying.

Chairman of the improvement advisory body, Les Lyon, said: “I'm pleased Cheshire West and Chester Council have agreed to accept the offer of funding from the town centre improvements program for this trial period of free parking.

“We also hope it will send a clear message of welcome to shoppers in the town, which is vital in today’s climate of pressure on the high street retail offer.”

Wirral Council brought in a "Free after 3" scheme to encourage more people to shop in Birkenhead, but it was scrapped last year due to cost cuts.