A Conservative proposal to create free short-stay parking in Keynsham has been given the green light by councillors in Bath and North East Somerset.
At the Council’s budget-setting meeting last Tuesday, 19 February, councillors voted in favour of plans to enable free short-stay parking to be created at either the Labbott or Ashton Way car parks in the town.
The proposal, tabled by Conservative councillors, earmarks up to £100,000 to allow free parking to be installed on a temporary basis whilst the town hall car park is shut due to the town centre redevelopment.
However, the final decision on whether or not to implement the proposal rests with the authority’s ruling Liberal Democrat councillors, who have rejected previous moved to create free parking in Keynsham and voted against the plan at the Council’s budget meeting.
Conservatives have welcomed the fact a majority of councillors gave their support to the plan, and have said they hope that if the trial proves successful the Council will consider making it permanent.
Councillor Marie Longstaff (Cons, Keynsham East), who moved the amendment at the meeting, said:
“High Street businesses in Keynsham have said they are suffering due the fact residents cannot find adequate parking in the town because of the town hall redevelopment. Our proposal to create free short-stay parking at Ashton Way or the Labbott would go some to helping support these businesses during this difficult period, whilst making shopping trips cheaper and easier for residents.
“We’re therefore delighted that a majority of councillors have their backing to this plan. We’re only disappointed that once again Liberal Democrat councillors tried to block these moves.”
Conservative councillors have also called on the Council to take action to alleviate the current parking problems in the town, and have suggested either a temporary decking of part of Ashton Way or creating a shuttle bus for Council workers.
Cllr Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South) added:
“We hope that B&NES will now finally listen to local residents and businesses, as well as the views of councillors in Keynsham, and implement this proposal. The proposal as it stands would only deliver free parking on a temporary basis, but we hope that if it proves popular and successful then B&NES will consider taking it up permanently.”