Car park increase - a 'disgrace'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 January 2012 | UPDATED: 10:19 19 January 2012

Grove Park car park.

Grove Park car park.

Archant

WESTON Town Council has united against proposals to raise car parking charges in the town.

At the authority’s meeting on Monday, councillors labelled North Somerset Council’s plans a ‘disgrace’.

It was also agreed that should the charges go up as planned, the town council may launch a judicial review on the basis they are discriminatory against the town’s residents.

Some parking charges in the town’s eight off-street car parks could rise by as much as 25 per cent, with the council’s executive due to make a decision after consultation ends on January 30.

But following town centre figures’ opposition, reported in last week’s Mercury, councillors from all three political parties voiced their anger at the proposals at Monday’s meeting.

Mark Canniford, a Liberal Democrat who also runs the Spar shop in High Street, said: “Do the executive members have shares in Cribbs Causeway? It feels as though they are trying to drive people away from Weston with these changes.”

The council’s Conservative leader Keith Morris agreed, saying: “Why should we have our car parking charges go up, when other towns in North Somerset won’t see theirs increase?

“It is cheaper to park in the centre of Bristol on the weekend than it is in Weston, and I think that is a disgrace.

“The annual pass for a senior citizen in Weston will be £260, whereas it will be £175 in Clevedon – do they really think people are more affluent in Weston?”

Proposing the charges be challenged through a judicial review which could see the decision overturned by the High Court, Liberal Democrat Mike Bell said: “These proposals are nonsensical and should be challenged as they are discriminatory to the people of Weston.

“Other town and parish councils have challenged decisions by principal authorities which they have believed to be unlawful and been successful, so if the proposals are voted through we should challenge it on that basis.”

Councillor Morris will now write to North Somerset on behalf of the council to object formally to the changes.

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