Report by James Franklin , Reporter
Thursday, June 21, 2012
WESTON town centre residents say the council’s planned pay-and-display regime may force them to sell their homes and cars.
The scheme, which could be implemented in September if given approval by the executive, will see pay-and-display machines, double yellow lines and a residents’ permit scheme introduced on 27 town centre streets.
But the plan, which is currently out for consultation, has attracted fierce criticism over its inclusion of residents’ permits, while Weston Town Council has also expressed concerns over some aspects of the scheme.
People living in affected streets will be able to buy a permit to park in the bays for £62 a year, but those permits will only provide two hours’ free parking each day.
Permit holders will parking from 9-10am in the morning and 5-6pm.
That means residents will be able to leave cars in their bays overnight but would have to move them during the day if they were at home - or be forced to pay to use the bays.
Speaking in a letter in the Mercury, S Clarke of Hopkins Street said: “I am not in a position to create an off-street facility and more than prepared to buy a permit at a reasonable cost to be able to park as I have done so for the past five years and do not expect my own parking bay which would be ridiculous.
“Therefore, if I am unable to park near my home at no exorbitant cost, I will be forced to move.”
Alma Street resident Brian Austin said: “These plans appear to have been drawn up by a demented cyclist with a grudge.
“In a civilised area a residents’ permit would be a one-off charge, but has anyone in the town hall actually noticed that the permit added to the day-time charge has the potential to cost people more than £2,000 a year?
“Nobody in their right mind would come up with that.”
Fellow Alma Street resident Phillip Chappell said: “I think that a residents’ parking scheme should do what it says on the tin.
“I would seriously have to consider selling my car if these proposals were implemented as they are.”
Members of Weston Town Council’s policy and finance committee said the scheme could cause ‘chaos’ in the town centre and surrounding areas such as hillside, and the council will write to North Somerset to express its concerns.
The council will also look for a guarantee from the unitary authority that the scheme will also be rolled out in Nailsea, Portishead and Clevedon.
Councillor Mike Lyall also suggested that if the scheme was not implemented elsewhere in the district that the plans be challenged with a judicial review bid.
The consultation ends on July 6.