A more than two-fold increase in car parking charges at Ashton Court has sparked outrage among visitors. Bristol Live reported the Bristol City Council-imposed rise from £1.20 a day to £3 a day last week, prompting readers to take the local authority to task on our Facebook page.
The rate rise came into force earlier this month on the Ashton Court Estate, which hosts a mansion and country park with woodland, grassland and outdoor activities. It is popular with ramblers, families and dog walkers – but some say they will not return due to the new fees.
Last year, Bristol Live reported that Bristol City Council planned to install pay and display machines at the main Blaise Castle car park off Kings Weston Road, as well as in car parks at Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills. Readers reported feeling “penalised” by the changes – a feeling which seems to have arisen again over Ashton Court.
Previously £1.20 for a full day of parking, the new charges are £1 for up to an hour, £2 for up to two hours or £3 for up to five hours. Anyone wishing to park for more than this must add an extra pound for every hour they wish to stay longer.
“I remember when you could park and picnic all day for free,” said Nicki Jeffereies on Bristol Live’s Facebook page.
Helen Louise Silsbury added: “[This will] put people off going,” pointing out that “with the cost of living people can’t even afford a nice walk now.” Sharon Lambert agreed, calling the move “thoughtless… at a time when so many are struggling, when they really need something free to do.”
Some managed to make a joke out of the situation. Rich Woodford asked, “Will they clean your car while you’re parked?” Ally Hardie was thinking along the same lines. “Will have a car wash set up there soon,” she joked.
But many saw the price hike as a final straw for the attraction – even the city as a whole. “Well that’s me not going there any more,” said Lewis Ben. “Oh dear,” said Andy Martin, “that’s me not visiting the cafe with the family on our dog walks. Bad news for the cafe.”
Gary Copland Powell went one step further, asking, “Is there any point in going to Bristol anymore? Can’t drive, can’t park, shops are closing, student housing everywhere.”
Bristol Live asked Bristol City Council for comment.