Conservatives push for Keynsham free parking trial

Conservative councillors in Bath and North East Somerset have put forward proposals to create free short-stay parking in Keynsham.The proposal, which would see spaces at the town’s Ashton Way car park given over to two-hours’ free parking, is to be debated at a B&NES Full Council meeting next Thursday, 19 July.

Conservative councillors in Keynsham have supported calls by local traders for free parking to be introduced in order to support local businesses and help boost to the local economy.  Conservatives have said that supporting the town’s High Street will be particularly important during the disruption caused by the construction of Keynsham’s new town centre, for which work is due to start later this year.

The move comes following previous refusals to look into the possibility of creating free short stay parking by the authority’s ruling Liberal Democrat Group.  However, Conservatives have said they are hoping that their proposal, which would initially be on a trial basis, will gain cross-party support.

Keynsham councillor Kate Simmons (Cons, Keynsham South) said:

“The Conservative proposal would enable 2-hours’ free parking to be introduced at Ashton Way car park, alongside the creation of a number of chargeable long-stay parking bays.  This would allow the Council to recoup some of the lost income and help ease parking pressure on nearby residential roads.

“Creating some free short stay parking in Keynsham town centre would help support the High Street by making it easier and cheaper for residents to pop to the local shops.  It’s all the more important that the Council do whatever it can to support local shops during the inevitably difficult construction period of the new town centre.”

Cllr Bryan Organ (Cons, Keynsham East) added:

“Free parking is something which local shops, businesses and residents have called for, and was highlighted in the Government’s recent report by Mary Portas as one way to help High Streets during difficult economic times.

“We hope that this proposal is something that all parties on the Council can get behind to deliver for Keynsham.  At the very least the Council should be willing to trial this proposal and be looking to replace the thirty or so free short-stay spaces which will be lost with the demolition of the old town hall.”

Ashton Way car park is currently an all short-stay car park, charging 40p for a two-hour stay.  The Conservative motion calls on the Council’s Cabinet to investigate and seek to implement, on a trial basis during the town centre redevelopment, two hours’ free parking at Ashton Way car park, alongside the creation of a number of chargeable long-stay parking spaces to mitigate the cost of free short-stay parking.