Coach changes needed to support tourism - says Weston councillor

Mike Bell.

Mike Bell. - Credit: Archant

SCRAPPING parking charges for coaches and adding new drop-off points are some of the changes needed to support Weston’s tourism industry, according to a town councillor.

Making Weston a more coach-friendly destination, to support shops and grow the area’s economy, is an idea supported by town and district councillor Mike Bell, along with tourism and business groups.

Cllr Bell wants North Somerset Council to take a leaf from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council’s book and ditch parking charges for coaches which bring in visitors.

He said: “I want to see North Somerset Council do its bit to help promote coach tourism.

“I’m calling on North Somerset to scrap parking charges for coaches in Locking Road car park – just as the council did in Burnham to attract them in.

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“The £7-a-day charge for a coach may not sound like a lot, but it’s little competitive disadvantages like this that put operators off coming to Weston – and our businesses lose out as a result.”

Cllr Bell said he also thinks drop-off points need to be reviewed to ensure more people walk down the High Street.

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He said: “At the moment most coaches drop off on the seafront, but I get complaints from visitors that they are dropped too far away from key tourism attractions and often too far away from the shops and cafés.

“Some visitors do want to be as close to the beach and pier as possible, but others come here to shop and enjoy the town centre.

“It can’t be right that visitors, often elderly, who are coming here to shop are being dropped off by the Tropicana.

“That needs to be reviewed, with more appropriate drop-off spots in Oxford Street and other town centre areas considered.”

The leader of the council’s Lib Dem group said Weston Town Council and the BID group, through Love Weston, are working to attract coach operators to Weston and have hired Ian Jefferies, who is part of Burnham’s coach campaign, to help put Weston on the map.

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