Anger over delay to review of Victoria Park parking charges

Bath and North East Somerset Council is facing mounting anger over its failure to complete a promised review of controversial parking charges at Bath’s Royal Victoria Park.

The charges were introduced by the Liberal Democrat-run authority last summer, sparking protests from local businesses and opposition Conservative councillors, who warned that the fees would damage trade and hit visitor numbers to the park.

As a result of the public outcry, B&NES agreed to undertake a review of the charges after their first six months of operation, with the results to be published by the end of January. However, with January come and gone, the Council is still yet to publish the results of its review.

Charges are currently set at £1 an hour, with a maximum four hour stay. However, Conservatives have called upon the Council to allow at least two hours’ free parking, with the maximum stay increased to six hours. Conservatives have said this would make visits to the park cheaper and easier for local residents whilst still preventing commuters from taking up the parking spaces for the whole day.

Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke, has tabled a question for answer the authority’s public Cabinet Meeting next Wednesday asking for the results of the review be published.

Councillor Clarke (Cons, Lansdown) said:

“First the Council said it would review these parking charges in December, then this was pushed back to January. Now we are in February and there is still no sign of a decision.

“The Liberal Democrats’ readiness to hike on-street parking charges throughout the city is hurting local trade and harming the local economy. During last summer traders at Victoria Park reported a drop in visitor numbers, and residents that I’ve spoken with say they want to see a period of free parking reintroduced at the park.

“The tragedy is that this could so easily be resolved if only the Lib Dems were willing to listen. The Council needs to get on and take a decision before the spring and summer, when more residents will be wanting to go and visit the park.”