Parking could be upgraded at local Somerset landmark

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 June 2017

The road through Cheddar Gorge.

The road through Cheddar Gorge.

Archant

Car parking in Cheddar Gorge could be improved with plans revealed for new opening hours and upgraded pay-and-display meters.

Longleat – which owns Cheddar Gorge and Caves – has asked Sedgemoor District Council for planning permission to place nine ticket machines in its car parks.

The gorge has always been a pay-and-display area however, at the top of the gorge by the cave entrance, a lack of signs is creating confusion among motorists unsure whether they are expected to pay or not.

There are 313 car parking spaces in Cheddar Gorge however only 90 of the spaces are clearly labelled as pay-and-display.

Leon Troake, operations manager for Cheddar Gorge and Caves, said: “For many years people wishing to park in any of the car parks throughout the gorge have had to find an attendant to purchase their ticket.

“This has led to some confusion and concern among visitors who have not always been able to buy their tickets immediately and are anxious they may get penalised.

“The new meters will alleviate those worries and also make it much easier to obtain a ticket quickly. They will also free up extra staff which we can be utilised to improve other aspects of the visitor experience.”

The change comes as part of a new initiative to introduce a local parking permit scheme to allow traders in the area more official spaces closer to their businesses.

Mr Troake said Longleat will not be charging people more than they did previously, however putting in better signs and ticket machines will give people ‘peace of mind’.

Prices for parking are currently £5 for the whole day and £3 after 3pm.

The company also plans to open up its car parks in the lower gorge in the evening to encourage more people to stay in the area.

Mr Troake said: “We hope to be able to open up some areas of the car parks for local community initiatives and events in the future.

“We want to encourage people to visit the restaurants and shops and support the local economy.

“By opening the car park after hours, hopefully it will improve this.”

To view and comment on the application, visit Sedgemoor’s website and search 17/17/00038.


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