Unpopular parking fees get green light

By Alex Seabrook, LDRS reporter

Editor’s note: Due to a production error, in the the print version of this story, we used a photograph of the parking area at Church Road. In fact, the parking area in question is at Church View. We apologise for the error.

Drivers will pay an estimated £1.5 million every year in new parking fees to South Gloucestershire Council.

Despite two thirds of people responding to a consultation opposing the new parking charges, council bosses are pressing ahead with their unpopular plan anyway.

In Filton, South Glos runs the car parks, at Church View, pictured; Filton Abbeywood Station; and Station Road.

The parking fees will first be introduced to council-owned car parks across South Gloucestershire, before on-street parking fees are brought in too. The council is hoping that the extra income means fewer cuts have to be made to essential public services.

Council bosses were urged to drop their parking plan during a cabinet meeting on Monday, February 5. But the changes are still likely to go ahead, and form a major part of the council’s budget for the next financial year, beginning this April.

One respondent said: “It will reduce support for local businesses and events, put people off volunteering and helping others in the town, and reduce people’s attendance at local dentists and opticians, so impacting public health. The number of public transport alternatives are small and diminishing. People will go elsewhere, shop online or not volunteer for local causes.”

Conservative Councillor Erica Williams voiced her support for residents. She said: “This policy would be damaging for local businesses, high streets and residents. The results of the budget consultation are overwhelmingly clear.”

Over 1,800 people responded to the council’s consultation on its budget, and almost 70 per cent opposed the new fees.

Older people were more likely to oppose the fees than younger residents. But the council did listen to the consultation, according to Liberal Democrat Cllr Claire Young, leader of the council.

Cllr Young said: “We’re going to maintain an element of free parking, and we will consider work permits where that’s appropriate. We can’t simply not do the parking charges without providing alternative means of generating that income.

“We are taking into account the things people have said, in providing that free element and the work permits.”

The income raised through fees will be spent on maintaining the road network and fixing potholes, as well as helping fund social care or education and minimise the amount of cuts needed to services.

  • Turn to P14 to read Cllr Adam Monk’s response to MP Jack Lopresti’s February column regarding the new parking fees.