Nailsea parking petitions

NAILSEA traders fighting North Somerset Council plans to introduce car parking charges in the town centre have collected almost 3,000 signatures of support.

A meeting of Nailsea chamber of trade on Monday evening heard the local authority believes charging shoppers in car parks and on the streets around town centres in North Somerset instead of just Weston would net them an extra �1.3million.

But business owners say the criteria used to calculate the figures is based on Weston tourism and does not apply in Nailsea, where charging for parking would ‘kill trade’.

They argue that parking does not need to be managed because car parks are rarely full and visitors will go elsewhere to shop where parking is free.

Several petitions, signed by shoppers, businesses, employees and patients at a doctors’ surgery were handed to the chairman who will organise a delegation to present them at a meeting of the full council in the New Year.

High Street caf� owner and former chamber chairman Gilly Chu, who collected 1,500 signatures, said: “We have been fighting the council on this for the last eight years.

“I obviously see where they are coming from - they have to raise revenue but I think in a small town like Nailsea it will kill trade.

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“We are just about keeping our heads above water as it is and if parking charges are implemented there will be a downturn in footfall and jobs will ultimately be lost.

“Councillors need to come and visit our town in the middle of the afternoon to see what it is like instead of making judgments sat in their offices in Weston.”

Nailsea Town Council clerk Ian Morrell, who attended the meeting, said it is also ‘vehemently opposed’ to the scheme and has been looking into taking over the running of the car parks from the unitary authority.

He said: “I am going to meet with the director of development, who does the number crunching, because they are taking figures for Weston and extrapolating them to fit other towns.

“We have known for years that the council is thinking of doing this and it’s not going to go away.

“The town council is looking into if it’s feasible to take over the town car parks but because North Somerset Council is looking at the profit they want to make they won’t release them for less than that figure, even though they are making nothing from them at the moment.

“But if the town council takes over the car parks it has got to be paid for and the money can only come from tax payers – it is not an easy solution.”

Members decided to send separate emails to NSC detailing how the move would affect their own businesses.

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