Knightsbridge? No - Axbridge

PARKING in a Somerset town is now more expensive than in some areas of London - it is being claimed. Axbridge mayor Baz Hamblin has campaigned

PARKING in a Somerset town is now more expensive than in some areas of London - it is being claimed.Axbridge mayor Baz Hamblin has campaigned to Sedgemoor District Council for a reduction in the town's parking charges of £225 per year - which is more than London's Kensington and Knightsbridge - but his plea fell on deaf ears.With residents relying on public car parks in Moorland Street and Meadow Road, the town's councillors have battled for over four years for the price to be reduced. But Sedgemoor District Council will not budge, saying it would lose too much money. Cllr Hamblin said: "Axbridge is unique as a medieval town where very few older houses have garages and street parking is very limited. Residents have to rely on public car parks. Therefore these prices are not appropriate for rural Somerset."In 2004 only four people bought a car parking season ticket which cost £150. Cllr Hamblin pointed out that if charges were reduced to £50-£60 per year, more people would buy them and that could lead to a dramatic increase of income for the district council of at least 75 per cent.He said: "80 per cent of residents thought that £150 a year in 2004 was too high and they suggested £50-£60 would be more reasonable. If 21 people bought a season ticket at this price, Sedgemoor would gain over an extra £1,000."When Sedgemoor District Council reduced car-parking charges in 2005, its income dropped by 14 per cent. It has now said that the 2005 price of £225 is a substantial discount and a further reduction to £50-£60 would mean an £8,000 loss to the council. Cllr Hamblin said: "Axbridge Town Council will continue its efforts to improve parking in the town and get residents parking fees reduced.

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