Proposal for one-hour free parking and season tickets receives storm reception from councillors

PUBLISHED: 17:30 05 December 2017

Highbridge Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Harvey.

Highbridge Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Harvey.

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Plans to introduce a one-hour free parking scheme and season tickets to an under-used car park have been sent back to the drawing board by councillors.

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Harvey proposed a ‘radical’ change to the parking scheme at Highbridge’s Bank Street Car Park to Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council.

Cllr Harvey, along with LibDem colleagues, proposed plans to introduce an hours free parking and season tickets for drivers.

He said: “At the moment, the income from Bank Street from the general public is only £18,000 a year, whereas the figures from Oxford Street and Pier Street in Burnham are £94,600 and £247,000 respectively.

“Breaking the figures for the car park down shows a daily usage averaging 46 cars – with a further 20 from Drainage Board employees who benefit from a £3,000 a year contract with Sedgemoor District Council.

“Given the size of the car park, this shows it is seriously under-used. Our proposals are designed to address this and provide a better service to the community”

But the plans were not as kindly met at a meeting of the council’s policy and finance committee.

Cllr Harvey said the idea went down ‘fairly stormily’ but remains certain the idea would make the car park more useful to residents and people visiting the town centre, as well as increase the council revenue.

He added: “The main thrust was that introducing a one-hour free car parking would not be possible as it would have to be done – as a matter of equity – on all Sedgemoor District Council car parks.

“This was backed up by a letter from March 2016, which I had not seen before, from the leader of the district council making this point.

“I disagree – to my mind this is like saying you cannot give someone housing benefits unless you give it to everyone – but it is an arguable point.

“I think I was getting a more sympathetic reception on the season ticket proposal.”

He believes the new scheme would benefit the town following the announcement of the two-hour parking limit at Asda and the limited amount of parking at the train station and in Church Street, which makes up part of the A38.

Cllr Harvey will meet with the town clerk and the chair of the committee to come up with an ‘acceptable recommendation’.

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