Residents in central Weston-super-Mare may finally get permits to park near their homes after seven years forking out “millions” on tickets.
Leigh Woods residents are set to get the first permits in North Somerset alongside a new pay and display system as the council cracks down on commuters who have spilled over from Bristol and limits how long tourists looking at the Clifton Suspension Bridge can stay.
Councillor Mike Bell said Weston’s pay and display machines had displaced cars to free areas and forced hundreds of people to pay to park outside their homes.
Speaking at an executive meeting on October 23, the deputy council leader said: “There are approximately 700 people in my ward [Weston-super-Mare Central] who have lived in a pay and display zone for seven years and don’t have the permits that will be available in Leigh Woods.
“I really hope this will happen in the coming weeks. It doesn’t require new technology or new solutions, just a willingness to do things differently.
“The council finds it easy to issue permits to elected members or members of staff but when it comes to giving them to residents it’s apparently difficult. That doesn’t wash.
“People have had seven years of pay and display charges outside their homes.
“Millions of pounds of revenue has been generated from that zone. It’s time we got action for people who live in that area.”
There are on-street parking charges in some 50 streets in Weston. Eligible residents can already buy permits that mean they are exempt from charges at certain times of the day.
But Mr Bell said the scheme being proposed in Leigh Woods – a total exemption from the new pay and display charges – was far better than Weston residents get.
Residents who do not buy one of the existing permits have to pay for parking like anyone else. One hour costs £1.50 and two hours, the maximum before a driver has to move their vehicle, costs £3.”
Exec meeting papers said: “Pressures in the area arise from visitors to Leigh Woods, Ashton Court and, the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and visitor centre.
“The proximity to Clifton makes the area within easy walking distance and the on-street parking system in Clifton is leading to displacement of parking activity into Leigh Woods for visitors/commuters to Clifton.”
Residents make up just 20 per cent of those using the 245 parking spaces.
He said it was “shameful” the previous administration at North Somerset Council had not tried to address the issue.
Mr Bell said the council should have a consistent approach, with dedicated residents’ parking zones in some streets.
Councillor John Ley-Morgan said permits were also needed in Uphill, where in streets like Links Road residents cannot park outside their homes between March and September because of the influx of tourists.
He said he wanted a solution in weeks, not years, arguing that permits could be brought in with minimal disruption.
Both sites will be looked at before April.
Councillor Mark Canniford, the executive member for business, economy and employment, said: “This is our first sortie into residents’ permits. A great deal of work was done by the previous administration. This administration has a different view of how it should work.
“The proliferation of yellow lines isn’t the solution. It will be further complicated when the Forestry Commission starts charging. We’re proposing a principle of introducing a scheme.
“This is about addressing the parking issues and overuse of Leigh Woods.”
Council leader Don Davies said it was important to have consistency but town and village schemes would inevitably different.
Executive members backed the introduction of permits in Leigh Woods.
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