Free parking is set to be trialled in Dundee city centre.
The city council plans to open the multi-storeys at Gellatly Street, Olympia and Greenmarket for the public to use at no cost from 3pm next Friday to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on that evening.
But calls have been made for free parking at every weekend during the festive season to boost the economy.
And business leaders have backed that view saying the council already makes enough money from current parking charges.
City development convener Will Dawson said free parking could be offered for major events in the future should the trial prove successful.
“It’s something we’ve never tried before,” he said.
“We are going to do a limited trial to begin with. It’s going to encourage people to come and do a bit of shopping, and it helps because people are going to be in town for the light night.
“We’ll see how well it’s received and take it from there. We’ve got to make sure it works.
“The one thing we’ve talked about is maybe looking at event-specific things, such as if there was a late-night shopping bonanza or something along those lines.
“It’s something retailers have been wanting for a couple of years and I think the problem was that we didn’t have the infrastructure before, but we now do with all the electronic machines and it makes it a bit more flexible.”
It was revealed this week that empty off-street parking spaces will cost Dundee more than 350,000 this year due to a lack of use.
And Labour leader Kevin Keenan said: “As much as it’s disappointing that we’re not using the car parks, how much would it cost to allow free parking for a period of six weeks before Christmas?
“I think, as a city, perhaps we should look to promote shopping in the centre of town and look towards bringing visitors to Dundee.
“It’s maybe an area we should take more of a hit on and make parking free at weekends in the lead-up to Christmas, so as to allow citizens in Dundee to benefit, but hopefully bring others into the city to allow revenue to be spent on the shop floor.
“It would encourage people to shop. Let’s see if we could boost the economy in the city.”
Richard Smyth, a director at Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, said: “It would be good if you leave your car for an amount of time, you didn’t have to think ‘it’s going to cost this’.
“I always think a Sunday should be free anyway and it’s not. It would maybe attract people from out of town to come in. They could park the car wherever they liked and not have to worry about restrictions. I couldn’t see why businesses wouldn’t support that. It’s definitely going to draw people in.
“There will always be someone to say the council would lose revenue, but they gain revenue from 50-odd weeks of the year.”