Christmas has come early for those who do not like paying for parking.

On every weekend from December 1 to December 30 parking will be free in all Epping Forest District Council owned car parks.

Councillor Nigel Avey, contract and technical services portfolio holder, said: ”We hope that by relaxing the car parking charges over the weekends in the lead up to Christmas, we will encourage our residents to shop locally.

"We are supporting our local retailers and town centres throughout the Christmas period.

”We want to give our residents easier access to our shops throughout the festive season, hopefully reducing the need to visit out of town shopping centres and taking valued trade outside of the district.

“There are so many reasons to shop locally, we hope we’re providing our residents with another.”