Conservative councillors have renewed calls for two-hours’ free parking to be introduced at Bath’s Royal Victoria Park.
The fresh demands come in the wake of a survey conducted by a trader in the park which revealed that 78% of people are opposed to the parking charges in their current form and instead back the creation of one or two hours’ free parking.
Conservatives have also criticised the Liberal Democrat-run Council for pushing back its promised review of the new parking charges from December to some point in the new year.
The charges were introduced by Bath and North East Somerset Council in the summer, with visitors to the park now having to pay £1 an hour, with a maximum stay of four hours. However, businesses in and around the park have warned that visitor numbers to have dropped as a result of the new charges.
Conservatives have said that they support the need for parking restrictions at Victoria Park in order to prevent commuters from taking up the majority of spaces, but have described the Council’s current charging regime as ‘draconian’ and ‘damaging’. Conservatives have also said that the Council could look at extending the maximum stay to five or six hours to offset the cost of reintroducing free parking.
Conservative Shadow transport spokesman, Councillor Anthony Clarke (Lansdown), said:
“It’s time for B&NES to listen to what local people are saying and re-introduce a period of free parking at Victoria Park. Traders have warned that the new charges introduced over the summer are hitting visitor numbers and harming trade, with one survey showing that 78% of people want at least one or two hours’ free parking reintroduced.
“It’s therefore deeply disappointing that the Lib Dems have closed their ears to these calls and apparently pushed back a promised review of the parking charges from December to some point in the new year. The Council should stop delaying and get on with this review now.”
Councillor Clarke added:
“We support the need for some parking restrictions to ensure parking spaces are available for visitors to the park rather than taken up by commuters, but the current regime is draconian and damaging. The Council could look into extending the maximum stay to five or six hours, which would still be enough to prevent commuters from taking up the spaces all day.”