Parking charge under discussion
A WORKING party is to discuss whether to recommend introducing parking charges in Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead.
The working party was set up earlier this year to investigate the possibility of introducing parking charges in car parks and on some streets the three towns.
The move to consider parking arrangements in the north of the district follows a decision by the council to introduce parking meters in Weston-super-Mare town centre.
Council chiefs said the installation of the meters – due to become operational next month – followed complaints from residents and traders that people were leaving their cars there all day, preventing visitors and shoppers from using them.
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The working party has spent the past months meeting with representatives from all three towns to discuss the implementation of charges.
It is looking at whether to introduce charging in areas including The Esplanade and the Lake Grounds in Portishead and along The Beach, pictured, and Marine Parade in Clevedon and Nailsea town centre car parks.
Other areas under consideration include car parks in all three towns and a number of residential streets.
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.
Concerns have also been raised that motorists will park on already crowded residential streets to avoid having to pay and display. The working group will make a recommendation to council's strategic planning and economic development panel in November. The panel will then make a recommendation to the authority's executive member for transport and highways, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees who will make a final decision.
SPED panel chairman, Councillor Clive Webb, said: "The working party will meet this week where it will deliberate on the matter and come up with some conclusions which will go to the SPED panel. Our recommendations do not necessarily have to be taken on board by the panel.
"We have had a number of meetings with representatives from each town, most of which have been constructive. Obviously there are strong feelings against the introduction of charging in all three towns, which is of no surprise."