Pay-to-park could ‘cause pool takings to plummet’

THE future of Portishead Open Air Pool could be in jeopardy if parking charges are introduced to the Lake Grounds, say supporters of the facility.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition against any introduction of parking charges in the area. The petition was triggered after North Somerset Council announced that new pay and display metres would be introduced in to Weston and parking arrangements in other North Somerset towns are now being investigated by a scrutiny panel.

Pool volunteer Barbara Thatcher, who started the petition, said: “We want North Somerset Council to understand how strongly members of the community feel against any suggestion of parking charges at the Lake Grounds and the detrimental effects this would have on the pool and other seafront businesses.”

The running of the open air pool was taken over by a community trust from North Somerset Council in 2009, after the people of Portishead fought to keep the seafront facility open. Since then trustees have seen visitor numbers soar and are anxious it stays that way.

The pool relies heavily on volunteers to keep it operational and supporters say they fear numbers will drop if people have to pay to park, while they are volunteering their services for nothing. There are also concerns visitor numbers would be hugely affected.


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Mrs Thatcher added: “People like to come to the pool and make a day of it. If they have to pay by the hour to park this could prove too expensive for many and we have no doubt pool takings would plummet.”

The petition, which can be found using a link on the pool’s website or at http://signon.org/sign/no-car-parking-charges, will be delivered to councillor Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader of North Somerset Council and executive member for highways.

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Cllr Ap Rees says the petition is somewhat premature and said: “The scrutiny and policy panel is looking at parking arrangements in all major towns in North Somerset, but no decisions or recommendations have been made.”

Meanwhile Portishead traders and town councillors have vowed to oppose the introduction of parking charges anywhere in the town.

At its July meeting, Portishead Town Council agreed to do all it can to resist the introduction of pay and display metres and has called for a public consultation on the matter.

Portishead Chamber of Commerce also opposed parking charges. A chamber spokesman said: “The chamber is deeply concerned about the impact parking charges in Portishead may have on retail businesses in the town, especially given our close proximity to both Cabot Circus and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.”

A recent survey carried out by the chamber showed vehemently strong opposition to the introduction of parking charges.

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