KENDAL could be one of the first locations to adopt a parking scheme that offers customers free or reduced parking in return for using local shops.

Chris Reed, founder of ParkingPerx, which featured on TV's Dragons' Den, said the scheme was awaiting the green light from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

ParkingPerx would allow shops and businesses in the town to make a contribution to customers' parking in return for customers spending a certain amount.

Sarah Williams, manager of Kendal Business Improvement District (BID), which has held discussions with ParkingPerx in order to bring the scheme to Kendal, said: "There are many good ideas in both the Kendal Vision and the Kendal Town Centre Strategy but these things are going to take time to achieve.

“ParkingPerx is a great way to encourage more people into the town centre in the short to medium-term to bridge that gap. It helps remove the cost of parking from the shopping experience, something which people hate and which can drive them to other locations such as Lancaster or Manchester.

“Even better, it gives customers an immediate reward for spending locally, and it is totally up to traders how much they invest in it, or even if they take part at all.

"We believe it’s a risk-free ‘win win’ for Kendal and we’d call on SLDC to support its implementation.”

ParkingPerx collects a transaction fee when customers make a qualifying purchase. There is also a 12-month subscription fee to SLDC which will initially be paid by Kendal BID.

The scheme goes live for the first time - in Sunderland - this month, and ParkingPerx founder Chris Reed hopes Kendal will be one of the next areas to come on board.

Mr Reed said: “It’s rewarding consumers who spend in the local high street - and the reward they earn is money towards their parking.

“Customers download the app and create an account and register their debit and credit cards and go shopping as normal.

“There’s no change to consumer behaviour and there’s no need for staff training in the shops.

“Traders don’t pay unless someone makes a qualifying purchase, so it’s really a marketing budget with a direct measurable return on your investment.

"The consumer may have to spend extra to get the reward, but they are spending it on something they want rather than parking.

“Merchants have said to us ‘Why am I paying for people’s parking?’, but the reason is that they can use that to drive a bigger spend in their businesses.”