Councillors call for cut in parking charges

Bath and North East Somerset Council is facing renewed pressure to reverse recent hikes in some on-street and evening parking charges in Bath.

At a Full Council meeting last Thursday, 10th July, Councillors voted in favour of a Conservative proposal calling upon the authority’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet to reverse a recent rise in evening charges at Charlotte Street car park, as well as reduce the cost of on-street parking within a new ‘ultra-premium’ parking zone in the city.

The Liberal Democrat-run authority came under fire earlier this year after the introduction of a new ‘ultra-premium’ parking zone saw the cost of on-street parking rise by as much as 41% on streets such as Laura Place and Milsom Street.  In addition, the removal of a reduced evening rate at Charlotte Street car park saw the cost of parking between 6pm and 8pm go up by a whopping 366%.

Local traders and opposition Conservative councillors have warned that such large increases in the cost of parking risk causing harm to the city’s economy and are in effect a tax on local residents and shoppers.

Councillors were debating the issue of parking charges after a petition organised by local traders gained the support of over 1,400 people, meaning the issue could be forced onto the Council agenda.

The Conservative motion was passed with the support of both Labour and Independent Councillors, despite an attempt by ruling Liberal Democrat councillors to block the proposal.

Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke, said:

 “We’re very pleased that our calls for B&NES to rethink recent hikes in on-street and evening parking charges gained the support of a majority of councillors. It’s just a shame that the Liberal Democrats tried to block our proposal.

“Such large rises in the cost of parking are seen as just another unfair stealth tax on residents.  They can also prove counter-productive by putting shoppers off from coming and harming our local economy, thereby meaning less revenue for the Council. 

“It’s right that the Council should find ways to reduce the number of vehicles needing to come into the centre of Bath, but simply hiking up the cost of parking isn’t the best way to do it. 

“Hopefully the Council will now listen to these concerns and bring the cost of parking at these locations and in the evening back to a more reasonable level.”