A FREE parking permit scheme is a major factor to the success of Tendring’s high streets according to council bosses.

The latest figures to be released have revealed only 4.4 per cent of shops in Dovercourt are empty, 4.8 per cent in Frinton and 7.5 per cent in Clacton compared to a national average of 13.4 per cent.

Council leader Mick Page is delighted Tendring is bucking the trend.

“These rates are really good news and show our high streets are thriving in difficult economic times,” he said.

“While there are a number of contributory factors behind this I firmly believe – and it has been confirmed by traders – that our efforts to be car-friendly and our overall parking policy are major reasons behind this.”

For the past three years every household has received a permit aimed at boosting trade meaning holders can park for free in all but two of the council’s car parks from 11am each day.