Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Pretty UK Town Where Residents Are Fighting Back Over Plans For Parking Charges

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Council-owned car parks in the town of Nailsea are currently free of charge and both the town’s council and people living there want to keep it that way.

By Casey Cooper-Fiske, News Reporter

Nailsea has rejected parking charges (Image: Getty)

Residents living in a pretty UK town are fighting back against plans to bring in parking charges on its streets.

Council-owned car parks in the town of Nailsea in north Somerset are currently free of charge and both the town’s council and people living there want to keep it that way, with almost 2,000 people signing a petition against plans to introduce fees.

Nailsea Town Council said it “firmly declined” plans when writing in response to North Somerset Council’s (NSC) Parking Management Strategy consultation.

NSC said charges could encourage sustainability and provide an income for the town, but he Nailsea council said the strategy would not meet the area’s needs.

The county council had been eyeing Nailsea’s Clevedon Road car park, Station Road car park as well as town centre on-street locations for charges.

Almost 2,000 people have signed a petition against plans (Image: Getty)

But Nailsea Town Council replied: “It neither supports our local economy or responds to the climate emergency.”

It said parking suggestions would not produce enough revenue to pay for themselves, as the consultation suggested, with Nailsea residents ending up “subsidising a scheme which they did not support in the first place”.

Councillors said introducing charges would force drivers into using Crown Glass Shopping Centre, Waitrose and Tesco car parks, while residential areas became clogged up with more on-street parking.

It said the town does not currently have an issue with congestion or air pollution and without the support of affordable and reliable public transport in the town people need to be able to use their cars.

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Anita Smith, chairwoman of Nailsea Town Council told the BBC: “These proposals could be the final straw for many traders in the town centre recovering from a cost of living crisis and Covid, so they should be abandoned by North Somerset Council.

“We urge them to focus on supporting the town centre traders by advertising and capitalising on the unique selling point of free parking, encouraging people to shop locally instead.”

But local councillors said NSC is the highways authority so if they go ahead with plans for parking charges, regardless of popular opinion not to have them, there is “nothing we can do about it”.

A spokesman for NSC told the BBC that feedback will help it to understand parking behaviours and what challenges or obstacles charges could create, and what charge locations and short-stay permits could look like.

It said the consultation was helpful in understanding “what might work for one location, but not another”.

A decision on the plans is expected to be made by the end of summer.

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