Drivers could soon pay to park on the street

DRIVERS could soon be paying to park on the street in popular areas around Nailsea, Clevedon and Portishead.

As part of its efforts to plug a �47million funding gap, North Somerset Council is looking to introduce more parking charges across the district.

This could include on-street charges along Clevedon’s seafront, as well as in Hill Road and Old Street in Clevedon, around Nailsea’s town centre and Portishead’s town centre.

At a meeting of the authority’s Strategic Planning and Economic Policy and Scrutiny Panel on October 11, it was revealed parking charges could raise �1.3million.

The panel supported, in principle, the introduction of on-street parking charges, subject to a review of rates.

On-street charging could raise about �700,000, with rates for Clevedon seafront recommended to be set at �1.20 for an hour and 60p for 30 minutes, 8am-6pm every day.

For other areas the rates have been recommended at 50p for an hour and 30p for 30 minutes.

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The earliest this could be implemented would be April 2013.

To deter drivers from simply parking on double yellow lines to avoid paying, the panel also recommended North Somerset Council applies to take on civil parking enforcement (CPE) powers from the police.

This would see a council employee enforcing double yellow lines plus the use of bus lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes. CPE could raise up to �80,000.

North Somerset Council is also looking to introduce charges at the car parks it owns in Clevedon at Great Western Road; in Nailsea at Clevedon Road, the Link Road and at Nailsea and Backwell railway station; and in Portishead at Esplanade, Nore Road and Roath Road. This could potentially generate about �380,000 for the unitary authority.

This idea has already prompted strong objections from business owners and town leaders in Nailsea.

In a speech to panel members, Nailsea Town Council chairman Rod Lees said: “Any proposal to introduce parking charges in Nailsea represents a commercially high-risk proposition, especially during a recession.”

Councillor Lees, who believes free parking is a strong selling point for Nailsea, also said, because the town does not have a shortage of parking, shoppers would end up using the Tesco car park and the one in Stock Way South, therefore reducing the income predicted for the council sites.

During the meeting, it was decided the panel would recommend the inclusion of the Nailsea and Backwell station car park in the charging scheme.

The panel also decided to support, in principle the extension of off-street charging, while taking into account exceptional circumstances in relation to Nailsea.

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