New council’s review of parking in Weston will make rules ‘fair and affordable’

Big changes could be made to parking regulations in Weston.

Big changes could be made to parking regulations in Weston. - Credit: Archant

Councillors have promised to deliver a ‘fair and affordable’ parking policy in Weston after a Tory-led review was scrapped by North Somerset Council’s new rainbow coalition.

Residents' permits, changes to charges and more are set to be discussed by the authority's new-look parking panel, which has vowed to introduce a new strategy.

Parking has been a hot topic in the town since the council took responsibility for enforcement of regulations from police in 2017.

Many Westonians have blamed the parking rules for the hastening the downturn of the High Street, with several big-name stores closing in recent months amid declining footfall.

Homeowners in the town centre have also told of difficulties parking near their property.

The Conservative administration - which first implemented parking charges on Weston's streets and lost control of the council in last month's local elections - had begun a review of parking across North Somerset.

But the exercise garnered much criticism from opposition parties, with no councillors from central Weston or other parties sitting on the panel.

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The council earns millions of pounds each year from its parking meters and off-street car parks - £2.34million in 2017/18 - and hundreds of thousands more is accrued in fines.

North Somerset's new executive committee - made up of Independent, Liberal Democrat, Green and Labour councillors - this week announced it has binned the Conservatives' review in favour of a new panel, which is set to explore the fairness of charges and opportunities for residential parking permits among other issues.

Businesses and homeowners will be consulted before a new parking strategy is created.

Weston Hillside councillor John Crockford-Hawley will chair the panel, with representatives from the most acutely-affected wards to be involved.

Mark Canniford, executive member for business, said: "Speaking with residents, parking is clearly a very emotive issue.

"There is an appetite in this new administration to create a fair and affordable parking policy and we are keen to involve residents and businesses.

"As the review progresses we will be keeping the community informed and giving everyone the opportunity to share their views."