Increased parking charges for Weston confirmed – but is it a ‘slap in the face’ for residents?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 December 2017
Parking charges will rise all over Weston-super-Mare again next year, in what one councillor has described it as a ‘slap in the face’ for residents.
North Somerset Council’s executive agreed on Tuesday to increase the cost of town centre on-street car parking from £1.30 to £1.50 for an hour, and £2.50 to £3 for two hours.
Parking for more than five hours in the Melrose, Grove Park, Knightstone and Carlton Street car parks will also rise from £10 to £12.
On-street car parking charges last rose in March this year.
None of the increases impact towns in the north of the district.
Elfan Ap Rees, executive member for highways, defended the charges, and said if they did not go up year-on-year, they would increase by a larger amount in three years instead.
The council has also agreed to start charging from 8am rather than 9am and will consult on extending on-street car parking charges to Sundays.
Central Ward councillor Mike Bell, who launched a petition objecting to the price hike, said: “This is an absolute slap in the face for Weston residents.
“They’ve been hit by on-street pay and display charges. They’ve been hit by year-on-year increases in off-street car park charges.
“They’ve been hit by civil parking enforcement, and the council’s heavy-handed ticketing approach.
“Now they face more inflation-busting increases and charges on a Sunday. It’s a total disgrace.”
By law, the money can only pay to repair car parks, road maintenance schemes and traffic wardens.
It is estimated the council could increase its revenue by £201,000 if all the proposed changes, including introducing pay-and-display machines in Kewstoke’s car parks and lifting the cost at Worle Station, go ahead.
The council had to pay for equipment when it took responsibility for enforcing parking laws on double yellow lines, and the increased charges will meet those costs.
Cllr Ap Rees said the council is looking how charges could also be introduced elsewhere in the district, but said Clevedon and Portishead do not get the same visitor numbers as Weston and so do not have the same congestion issues.
A council spokesman added that after six years of funding cuts and increased social care demands, difficult decisions need to be made.