Covenant to scupper parking charge plans?

NORTH Somerset Council cannot charge drivers to park at Nailsea and Backwell train station, according to a former parish leader.

Tom Wilson, who was Backwell Parish Council chairman in the 1990s, claims there is a covenant on the site of the current car park preventing drivers being charged to park there.

Last month, North Somerset Council revealed plans to expand the car park and introduce a pay and display system which would cost commuters about �30 a month.

However, Mr Wilson believes that when Avon County Council was abolished in 1996, Backwell Parish Council offered to take over the land at the station, with the proviso no parking charges would ever be introduced.

The Nailsea resident said: “When Avon disbanded it was all very last minute and all hell broke lose regarding responsibilities it didn’t know anything about.

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“The guy who originally owned the land was involved in the Brink’s Mat robbery resulting in his land being bought under a compulsory purchase order.

“So there was a feeling if the public has bought it already they shouldn’t have to pay for it twice.”

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The site was transferred to Woodspring District Council and Mr Wilson, who was a parish councillor for 16 years, and former town clerk Maureen Sage are convinced there is paperwork to support an agreement made to never introduce parking charges.

Mrs Sage said: “I would be very surprised if the document, which was in old files in the back office at the parish hall when I was there, has been revoked.”

North Somerset Council has borrowed �700,000 to buy land next to the station car park to expand it from 120 spaces to 303. It plans to charge �1.50 per day at peak times or �1 after 10am, to cover the operation costs and to repay the 25-year loan.

Mr Wilson added: “I have been expecting North Somerset to introduce charges for quite some time but it can’t charge for half the car park.”

The issue has been reported to North Somerset Council but staff are yet to have found any evidence of the covenant.

A council spokesman said: “We are not aware that any kind of covenant exists.

“If this person could provide us with more information then we could certainly investigate further.

“Our offices have looked into this and say they cannot find any reference to a covenant.”

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