Report by Alex Evans, Reporter
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
PAY-AND-DISPLAY machines will be installed in Weston’s streets after a proposal was passed by North Somerset Council to charge for parking.
The new pay-and-display scheme will operate Monday to Saturday from 9am-6pm on 27 streets, costing the council £300,000 to implement.
Charges will be up to £1.20 an hour with a maximum two-hour stay, while permits for town centre residents will be available for £62 annually.
The changes will be introduced in September subject to a public consultation with residents and businesses over the summer.
Off-street parking charges will be slightly reduced, while a proposal to extend Grove Park into the adjacent tennis courts for more parking was also passed.
Permits for traders will also be available.
In future, more streets could be subject to parking charges, according to the report.
The proposal was passed despite opposition from a number of councillors who said the charges were too high.
Several also raised the point that the council has not done enough to consider the impact of ‘displaced parking’, where motorists park on nearby hillside roads which are not subject to charges.
Cllr Mark Canniford said: “Everybody said they would be in support if charges were set at an appropriate level.
“Well you have got that wrong and you have got it wrong big time.
“People don’t mind paying a reasonable charge but £1.20 an hour has lifted it above that sensible level.”
He added: “If this was a major company or individual there is no way the council would allow someone to deal with major problems like displaced parking after the event – your planners would turn it down.”
Executive member for highways Cllr Elfan Ap Rees said: “We recognise that there may be problems in areas outside the pay-and-display zone but until it has been tested we don’t know where the problems might be.
“We all know it will take time.
“But Cllr Canniford has got an interest in this as he’s a shop owner in the town centre. The less people pay for parking the more they have to spend in his shop.
“I cannot justify reducing the charges because that would mean it being subsided by the council tax payers and that is not what we want.
“The intention is we will be continue monitoring and tweaking it where we need to.”
Cllr Canniford added: “The reason we bring these issues up is because we represent the people in the area who are affected.”
He said to Cllr Ap Rees: “I assume you will just park for free in front of the town hall.”
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley said the scheme will not work unless civil enforcement, where police ticket vehicles parked illegally, for instance on double yellow lines, is also introduced.