‘Partial victory’ as B&NES climbs down on Victoria Park parking charges

Conservatives in Bath have hailed the news that B&NES Council is to reduce the cost of parking at the city’s Royal Victoria Park as a ‘partial victory’.

The Council has announced that it will reduce the cost of parking for up to two hours from £1 an hour to 50p an hour, with the maximum stay at a number of parking bays on the western side of the park increased from two hours to four hours.

The climb-down by the Liberal Democrat-run authority comes following a public backlash against the parking charges, which were introduced at the park last summer.  Conservative councillors joined with traders in the area to warn that the new charging regimes was putting off visitors to the park and damaging local trade.

Conservatives had pressed the Council to make parking free of charge for up to two hours, with the maximum stay at some bays extended to up to five or six hours for people using the sport and leisure facilities at the park.

Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke, said:

“This is a welcome climb-down by B&NES and goes some way to addressing concerns that the new charging regime was putting off visitors and harming local trade.  It’s just a shame that once again the Lib Dems dug their heels in and refused to listen earlier to the genuine concerns of park users.

“However, this doesn’t completely resolve the problem.  The point is that Victoria Park is a public amenity which is there for all Bath residents to freely use and enjoy, and some people will still be put off by the inconvenience of needing to find change for the parking meter.

“Charging 50p for an hour’s stay will surely raise so little it has to be questioned why the Council doesn’t just go the whole way and make an hour or two completely free.

“The proposed changes also fail to address the issue that users of some of the sports and leisure facilities at the park need to stay a bit longer than the four hours allowed.  We’d like to see B&NES keep this under review over the summer.”