Councillors challenge ‘worthless’ parking plans
PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 August 2012 | UPDATED: 09:14 07 August 2012
THE ‘worthless’ residents’ parking permit scheme set to be introduced in Weston town centre has hit a snag after opposition councillors called it back for further debate.
North Somerset Council’s executive voted last week to introduce the plans, but Liberal Democrat members have said the scheme could cause ‘misery’ for residents living in and around the affected area.
The call-in means the Tory plans, which sparked outrage among town centre residents, will be debated again by councillors before the scheme can be initiated.
If approved, a permit will be introduced offering one free hour of parking to residents from 9-10am and a second from 5-6pm.
Outside of these times residents are expected to pay for an on-street bay, or park at the authority’s Locking Road car park.
But the opposition members have said the scheme will be ‘worthless’ to people living in the 27 affected streets who do not work regular working hours, those who are retired and those with caring responsibilities.
LibDem Mark Canniford said: “We continue to have real concerns about the proposed scheme and all the way through have tried to persuade the council to make changes.
“Our focus now is on the residents’ permit scheme and the effect of displaced parking. More needs to be done on both elements before the scheme goes ahead in October.”
Group leader Mike Bell said: “The permit offers people just two hours free parking first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
“It’s worthless – though the council still expects residents’ to pay £31-62 a year for it. The rest of the time they will have to fork out to park outside their own home.
“The permit needs to be more flexible and more generous in giving residents the chance to park at different times during the day.”
Concerns have also been raised about the effect on-street parking charges will have on areas outside the zone where pay-and-display meters are to be introduced.
Cllr Canniford added: “Parking is bad enough now in places like Weston hillside and the outskirts of the town centre.
“When the pay-and-display scheme comes in, many fear that the situation will get even worse.
“Help needs to be provided to those residents living just outside the zone. Without protection from the worst effects of displaced parking, life will be a misery for even more residents.”
The council approved the scheme after saying it would provide a boost for town centre traders by helping to increase turnover in town centre parking areas.
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