TRADERS are hoping that shoppers will be “in it to win it” when Beaminster’s own parking lottery begins this week.

The innovative scheme designed to attract shoppers to the town while the tunnel and the main A3066 road is closed has been welcomed by Beaminster’s business chamber and the town council.

Under the scheme, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, shoppers will be asked to enter their parking tickets into the draw each week for the chance to win a prize valued at £200.

Nigel Reeve, head of Beaminster and District Business Chamber, pictured, said: “This is a great scheme, shoppers who come to Beaminster will now have the chance to win a prize worth £200 every week.

“It only costs 30 pence an hour to park in Beaminster so it is great value and great odds.

“We are hoping it will help boost trade as people will have a very real chance of winning a valuable prize every week from January to the end of June 2013.

“The chamber has been involved from when the idea was first considered.
We think it’s a fantastic step forward and it’s something we fully embrace.”

West Dorset District Council took the decision to launch the scheme, set to cost £8,000, because of concerns over the effect of the long-term tunnel closure for repairs.

Gilbert Berry, chairman of Beaminster Town Council, said: “I think this is a great idea to bring more people into our lovely town.

“Our businesses could do with a little bit of extra help while the tunnel work is completed so I am delighted to support the scheme.

“Visitors will have a very real chance of winning a fantastic prize, so come to Beaminster and enter the lottery.”

Shoppers can enter the lottery simply by sending in their contact details with a parking ticket bought from a district council pay and display machine in Beaminster or dropping them in to the Yarn Barton Centre.

Each week a winner will be drawn who will receive vouchers worth £200 that can be spent in participating Beaminster shops and businesses.

Eligible tickets can be bought from Friday and the first draw is set to take place on January 7.