NORTH Somerset Council's Executive will meet next month to consider whether to take the North Somerset Parking Management Strategy and Action Plan to public consultation. 

Proposals in the plan include introducing car parking charges to Portishead, Nailsea and Clevedon. This would cover council-owned car parking and even some areas of on-street parking.

The public consultation will also be used to develop price banding and hours of operation in each town. Existing parking charges in Weston would be included in this.

Proposals for short-stay parking permits for up to two hours will also be considered. This would be perfect for those needing to pop into their local town centre.

Cllr Hannah Young, executive member for Highways and Transport, said: “National government’s year-on-year failure to invest in councils has put pressure on budgets across the country, impacting on local services and, in some cases, forcing councils into bankruptcy.

"North Somerset is not in that position, but we have to act responsibly to ensure the books are balanced.

“Against this backdrop and a lack of government support, councils are now seeking new ways to invest in their local areas.

"In the case of car parks, like our neighbours in Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset, we have decided to look at options to introduce new parking charges in locations that were previously free. 

“These charges would enable us to improve the operation and maintenance of our car parks for residents and visitors. They would also help manage traffic and congestion through the introduction of on-street parking at busy locations.   

“The introduction of parking charges can also encourage more people to make short journeys sustainably, travelling on foot or by bike for the benefit of their health and the environment.

“In addition, new short-stay permits would maintain free parking for residents, whilst supporting businesses by making more spaces available to shoppers throughout the day.

“We understand that these proposals are asking something extra from our residents at a time when they, like us, are feeling the squeeze. That’s why consultation is so important in developing proposals that meet the needs of local people, business and anyone else who relies on their car.   

“Should the Executive pass the proposals, we will begin consultation in March. Nothing is set in stone and we will be asking for your views on a variety of topics."