Wrangle over cut price parking for college

PUBLISHED: 07:18 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 May 2010

COUNCILLORS have challenged North Somerset Council's decision to make taxpayers pay for Weston College's 200 subsidised car parking spaces. The college has bought 137 staff permits from the council for Melrose car park in Knightstone Road at a cost of 80p

COUNCILLORS have challenged North Somerset Council's decision to make taxpayers pay for Weston College's 200 subsidised car parking spaces.The college has bought 137 staff permits from the council for Melrose car park in Knightstone Road at a cost of 80p per space a day. But town workers and visitors are charged £8 to use the same car park all day.Bosses at the college have recently been handed a further 60 temporary spaces while work is being carried out on its Triangle and South Terrace car parks as part of the £13 million project to build a second campus in Loxton Road.Figures suggest it will cost the taxpayer £377 a day to replace the money that is lost through the subsidies.Members of the council's Strategic Planning and Economic Development Scrutiny Panel (SPED) will discuss the permits at a meeting on Monday.They say the cut-price spaces are against the council's policy to get people to use environmentally friendly transport and will cost the taxpayer too much.The panel has the power to refer the decision to subsidise the car parking spaces back to the council's executive to vote on it again.SPED chairman Elfan Ap Rees said: "There wasn't a lot of discussion when this decision was taken and we have a few questions over it."There will be less spaces available to the public and they will have to pay for them. The decision isn't encouraging staff at the college to use green transport either, so we need that explained."The council is due to review the college's discounted scheme in 2008, when the Loxton Road campus is completed.John Crockford-Hawley, North Somerset Council's executive member for Strategic Planning and Transport, said: "This is a temporary way of helping the college while it is in a difficult situation. The subsidies will be eventually removed when the situation is reviewed."Bakers Dolphin's commercial discount for using its car park in Locking Road has recently been stopped.

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