Weston first now other North Somerset town could get parking charges

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By Prue_Reid | Monday, December 03, 2012, 11:52

COUNCILLORS will discuss plans to introduce car parking charges at  Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead in the New Year.

A special working party was set up earlier this year to investigate the possibility of introducing parking charges in car parks and streets in the three towns.

The working party is due to make a recommendation to the authority's Strategic Planning and Economic Development (SPED) panel on where charges could be implemented.

However a final decision on the implementation of any scheme lies with North Somerset Council's powerful executive.

It had been hoped that a recommendation would go before the panel this month, but the report was deferred while the working party sought more information.

Working party chairman, Councillor Clive Webb, said a recommendation would go to the SPED panel in the New Year.

Mr Webb said: "No decision has been made at the present time.

"We are hoping to be able to make a recommendation to the SPED panel in the New Year."

Mr Webb said the working party was also waiting to see how the introduction of on street parking charges on 28 streets in Weston-super-Mare town centre was working before  making a decision on introducing a similar scheme in the north of the district.

Council chiefs introduced the scheme in Weston following concerns that motorists are flouting existing parking restrictions by leaving cars in timed bays for longer than allowed.

But the new parking regime in Weston has received a mixed reaction, with some retailers complaining it has turned the town centre into a ghost town.

Mr Webb added that there were no moves to introduce 'blanket charging' across the north of the district and each town was being considered independently of each other

News of the possibility of parking charges has been greeted with horror by local traders, councillors and community groups saying it will have a devastating impact on business and force shoppers to out of town complexes where parking is free.

Local business people said charging should not be introduced at a time where businesses are already struggling for trade due to the current economic climate.

Concerns have also been raised that motorists will just spill out on to residential streets to avoid having to pay and display.

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