Pay to park on Weston's streets?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 October 2011

Parking meter

Parking meter

Archant

DRIVERS could soon be paying to park on the streets in Weston's town centre if money-making proposals are adopted by North Somerset Council.

As part of its efforts to plug a £47million funding gap, the unitary authority is looking to introduce more parking charges district-wide.

This could include on-street charges in the town centre as well as in Worle High Street, near the hospital in Uphill and some streets surrounding the town centre.

At a meeting of the authority’s Strategic Planning and Economic Policy and Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday, it was revealed parking charge changes could raise £1.3million.

The panel supported in principle the introduction of on-street parking charges, subject to a review to ensure rates are fair to all residents.

On-street charging across the district could raise about £700,000, with rates for Weston’s town centre recommended to be set at £1.20 for an hour and 60p for 30 minutes, 8am-6pm everyday.

For other areas the rates have been recommended at 50p for an hour and 30p for 30 minutes.

To support the on-street charging scheme, and to deter drivers from simply parking on double yellow lines to avoid paying, the panel recommended North Somerset Council apply to take on Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) powers from the police.

This would see a council employee enforcing double yellow lines plus the use of bus lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes. CPE could raise up to £80,000 but this is likely to diminish as drivers became more compliant.

Another money-making option being considered is to expand the Grove Park car park to create 90 spaces on disused tennis courts, however, this will depend on permission being given by the Bath and Wells Diocese, which holds a covenant for the land.

The majority of the panel voted to support this idea in principle, subject to the consideration of conservation issues. However, some members were against the idea, questioning the need for more spaces in the town.

Councillor Mark Canniford said: “I cannot see the point in extending the car parks when they are not full.”

All recommendations made by the scrutiny panel will now be passed to the council’s executive for consideration.

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