Hobsons Bay Council has voted to trial free parking in part of Williamstown’s main dining strip for four days a week from next month.

From August 1-November 1, parking will be free in Nelson Place, between Pasco and Thompson streets, and also in Syme Street, from Monday to Thursday.

Cr Angela Altair had originally proposed a Monday to Friday free parking trial for the whole length of Nelson Place for three months.

Hobsons Bay’s strategic development director Natalie Walker estimated the loss of parking-metre revenue, if the trial was Monday to Friday, would be $130,000-$180,000. This did not include revenue from fines.

Councillor Paul Morgan called for a more limited trial than originally proposed by Cr Altair.

For the trial to proceed, five or more traders will have to agree to provide confidential financial data to council officers for comparison purposes.

Cr Angela Altair said the free-parking trial would be aimed at helping struggling traders, who suggested a winter freeze on paid parking in a budget submission made last year.

The parking metre fee is $3 an hour, but parking is free for residents with a permit.

Williamstown Chamber of Commerce (WCC) president Laura Nardo said the move showed the council was committed to ensuring success for small, local businesses.

Megan Darling, convenor of the Yarraville Village Says No to Paid Parking group, said Maribyrnong council should follow Hobsons Bay’s lead and halt next month’s scheduled introduction of paid parking in Yarraville.

Yarraville residents and traders have come out overwhelmingly against paid parking, arguing it will destroy local trade by pushing shoppers to areas with free parking such as shopping centres.

with Benjamin Millar