Changes proposed for parking in North Somerset
Residents and visitors to Weston will see some lower parking charges if major changes are agreed by North Somerset Council’s Executive next month.
The move comes in response to residents’ calls for a fairer approach to parking across the area, which saw a cross-political party working group created to address the issues.
In what would be the first stage of changes, some tariffs in car parks and on the roads in Weston will become cheaper, while fees will be introduced to other areas and charges will become more consistent across North Somerset.
The changes aim to make sure parking is managed in the best and fairest way possible, to encourage turnover of visitors to town centres, to make sure any fees are reasonable, and to cover the costs of enforcement in paid for and free spots. In response to the climate emergency declared by the council this year, the review is also looking to encourage visitors to choose different ways to travel.
Councillor Mark Canniford, who is North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for parking and is leading the review, said: “Residents across North Somerset have very strong opinions about parking. We want to make sure their voices are considered.
“This is why the issues are being discussed by a group of representatives from different political parties from towns and villages across the area. The plan we have come up with is the first step in achieving our aim to manage parking in the best and fairest way.
“Next we will be looking for views from residents and visitors to fine tune these proposals and get ideas for the next steps.
“We have come up with a solution that brings consistency to charges across our area and makes sure residents and visitors have access to parking spaces in our towns.
“Owning a business in Weston when on-street charging was introduced in 2012 I experienced the positive impact it had, as customers were able to park near the shops.
“We have to make sure the changes we make will not cost the council money, so we are not able to do everything we would like straightaway.
“For example, residents parking permit changes are not part of the plan at this stage. However, we are carrying out a trial of a new system near Leigh Woods, so we expect this to be part of future considerations.”
North Somerset Council’s Executive will consider the proposals when it meets on Tuesday 7 January. The plan includes reducing charges for on and off-street parking in Weston, introducing charges to car parks and roads in Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead, and making the chargeable times the same for car parks and roads. It also proposes reviewing the administration fee for telephone and online payments and the number and location of machines to help with the £860,000 implementation costs.
If the Executive agrees, further consultation would be carried out in each area. It is expected to take 18 months to consult on and implement the changes, but it is hoped the rate changes in Weston will be done first and could be in place as early as April.