Station parking charge on track

COMMUTERS could be charged �30 a month to park at Nailsea and Backwell train station from 2014, after plans to expand the existing car park and introduce a pay and display system were announced.

North Somerset Council has borrowed �700,000 to buy land next to the station car park to expand it from 120 spaces to 303.

A report to its executive, written by the council’s senior transport planner Steven Thorne, for a meeting on April 17, said: “This extension has been an aspiration for many years as a way to meet demand.

“This year could be a good time to build the scheme because in 2012 the Department for Transport are funding �1million improvements to the platform access ramps which might generate more requests for the council to increase parking capacity.”

North Somerset Council plans to charge �1.50 per day to drivers parking before 10am Monday to Friday, or �1 after 10am all week, to cover the operation costs and repay the 25-year loan. Season tickets will cost �300 per year or �90 per quarter.

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But independent councillor for Nailsea East, Andy Cole, has criticised the plans.

In a letter to the Times he wrote: “Expansion has been long overdue and I have been a keen advocate of extending the car park for a number of years to relieve the overspill of vehicles which clog up some of the roads in Nailsea and Backwell.

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“What I do not support is the introduction of inflated parking charges.”

The report defends the charges by saying a lesser amount would not be enough to cover the operating costs and would mean the council would not be able to offer annual permits.

It also states: “An appropriate level of charge may help encourage those living nearby to walk or cycle and those living further away to car share or catch a bus.

“The availability of spaces would then improve for other users and make the rail option more attractive.”

Speaking to the Times Cllr Cole added: “I could understand a more modest charge but �1.50 is ridiculous.

“I can see lots of people boycotting the car park and parking in nearby streets.”

Cllr Cole also said he fears parking charges in Nailsea’s town centre could be introduced by North Somerset Council, which is still considering the issue, later this year.

He said: “There is a strong feeling at the council that because we have charges in Weston this should be spread out to the north of the area.

“In Nailsea it will kill trade. There is already a glut of empty shops in the town so to bring this in, and I bet my bottom dollar it will happen, is ridiculous.”

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