Councillor reveals fears for Weston-super-Mare town centre businesses if parking plans are approved
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 January 2018
Plans to introduce Sunday parking charges for Weston are the ‘last nail in the coffin’ for town centre businesses, according to a North Somerset councillor.
Charges to park across Weston will rise this year with the cost of on-street parking in the town centre set to increase from £1.30 to £1.50 for one hour and £2.50 to £3 for two hours.
The council has also agreed to start charging from 8am rather than 9am and plans to consult on introducing Sunday parking charges.
But councillor Mark Canniford, who owns the Spar store in High Street, says areas such as the Gallagher Retail Park are already keeping shoppers away from the town centre on weekends and fears Sunday charging will hurt businesses further.
He said: “During the winter – October to April – there are no issues with regards to parking spaces.
“We don’t need to turn over parking spaces as there are far more than are needed.
“To suggest businesses need to turn over spaces on a Sunday is nonsense.
“If you look at the retail sheds they are packed on Sundays, with very little business for the town centre.
“This is simply the last nail in the coffin.
“We always struggle with footfall between October and April, and I’ve been running my business for 34 years.
“By introducing charges to secondary shopping areas it gives no incentive to park there.
“Businesses are being put at a huge disadvantage by this council and the public are being forced to pay for the council’s financial incompetence.
“We have become the cash cow of North Somerset.”
Cllr Canniford made the comments following the latest full North Somerset Council meeting when councillor Elfan Ap Rees, executive member with responsibility for highways, admitted the authority already has plans to charge for parking on Sundays.
Cllr Ap Rees said: “It is still intended to introduce Sunday parking charges.
“It was approved I think at our last meeting, subject to consultation.”
The council has also said it needs to make difficult decisions as it aims to save an extra £11million over the next 12 months.