Report by Karen Richards
Saturday, June 16, 2012
PAYING to park in Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea is one step closer to becoming a reality after discussions at a North Somerset Council scrutiny panel on Monday.
Members of the strategic planning and economic development policy and scrutiny panel (SPED) who serve the Weston area feel the recent decision by the council’s executive to introduce on-street parking fees in the centre of the seaside town should be rolled out to the rest of the district, including car parks which are currently free.
The plans mean pay and display meters could pop up around town centres, with some areas implementing a two-hour maximum wait.
Suggestions put forward by a council working party are that in Clevedon, the Marson Road car park becomes pay and display and meters would appear in Queens Road near Old Church Road and at the south end, with charges made in existing bays in Old Street.
Visitors to the seafront could pay a different rate to the town centre, with a reduced all-day fee suggested for on-street parking outside the Salthouse car park to match charges inside the site.
A two-hour limit could be applied to shoppers in Hill Road, and meters could be introduced to Woodlands Road and Pizey Avenue and surrounding roads.
In Portishead, short-term pay and display would be added in the High Street, with longer stays accommodated in Slade Road.
Meters would be installed in Parish Wharf, with a concession made for leisure centre users, Harbour Road and the Esplanade with long-stay bays in Station Road.
Charges would also be made in Nore Road and Roath Road car parks.
In Nailsea, the report suggests fees should be kept at ‘a viable minimum’ because parking is said to be ‘more critical’ than in any other town in the district and on-street parking should be set at the same level as short-term car park fees.
SPED members defended the changes saying it will mean a higher turnover of visitors, generating more income for businesses and had been requested by traders in Clevedon.
Cllr Donald Davies said: “Council tax payers are paying towards free car parks so towns and villages which don’t have them are subsidising those who do and it’s not fair.”
Cllr Richard Tucker said: “We have long had the situation that towns outside Weston have free parking, subsidised by people in Weston and it is an annoyance to people in the town.”
But councillors who serve the towns argue it will kill trade, forcing people to shop where parking is free.
Portishead councillor David Pasley said the plans for the town were ‘retrograde steps’, especially charging The Windmill pub and golf course customers at the Nore Road car parks.
Portishead town councillor John Clark said businesses, particularly the pubs and leisure centre would ‘have the rug pulled out from under them’.
He added: “This idea needs to be thought through more and consulted over again and I urge you to start again with a blank sheet of paper if you are going to charge for parking in Portishead.”
The panel recommended to the executive that town and parish councils should be consulted again and preparations for road measuring and yellow-line marking should begin.