Conservatives press for Keynsham free parking

Proposals to create free short-stay parking in Keynsham are to be put forward by Conservative councillors when Bath and North East Somerset Council debates its budget plans this week.

At the Council’s budget meeting this Tuesday, 18 February, Conservative councillors will propose that funding be set aside to enable free short-stay parking to be introduced at either the Labbott or Ashton Way car parks in Keynsham on a trial basis during the construction of the new town hall.

The renewed calls for free parking in the town come at a time when many local businesses are reporting a drop in trade due to the closure of the multi-storey town hall car park, with residents unable to find convenient town centre parking. Conservatives have campaigned for free parking to be introduced to help support local traders during the town centre redevelopment.

Conservative councillors representing Keynsham have also said that B&NES Council should look into creating a shuttle bus for Council employees whilst the multi-storey car park is closed to help ease pressure on residential roads in town.

Councillor Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North), who is also the Conservative shadow spokesman for Resources, commented:

“So far B&NES has completely ignored our calls to implement free parking in Keynsham during the town hall redevelopment. The Council’s budget meeting will finally be an opportunity to earmark funding to enable this to happen. Hopefully we will gain support from the other political parties on the Council to allow our proposal to be included in the budget for this year.

“It will only deliver free short-stay parking on a temporary basis, but if it proves successful perhaps B&NES will finally listen to the calls from residents and businesses and introduce it permanently.”

Councillor Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South), added:

“Free short-stay parking would go some way to helping local residents and businesses during the difficult construction period of the new town centre, so I hope our proposal is adopted.

“However, the Council also needs to address the major problems residents are experiencing with parking problems due to the closure of the multi-storey car park. When Southgate was redeveloped in Bath, a temporary extra deck was put in at Avon Street car park, but nothing similar has been done by the Council here in Keynsham. B&NES could also look at whether it could come to an arrangement with the football club to allow its car park to be used to shuttle Council workers into the centre to ease pressure on nearby residential roads.”