Paying to park at Nailsea and Backwell railway station

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By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 14:39

Charges for parking at Nailsea and Backwell station car park will come into force this summer.

North Somerset Council executive agreed this month that charges would be introduced to pay for the capital financing costs of the car park extension and operating costs.

From August it will cost £1.50 a day to park at the railway station with annual permits available at £300.

Community leaders in Nailsea were already calling for round the table talks with council leaders in a bid to move forward a takeover of the town centre car parks.

Nailsea Town Council agreed late last year to approach North Somerset Council with a view of taking over Station Road, Link Road and Clevedon Road car parks on a 25-year-lease.

An approach to North Somerset has now been made and town councillors are now hoping to organise talks with authority leaders in the coming weeks to move the scheme forward.

Nailsea Town Council clerk, Ian Morrell, said: "North Somerset has acknowledged our request to take over the car parks but we are still waiting for negotiations to start and a meeting has been asked for."

The move to take over the car parks comes after North Somerset Council announced it was considering introducing charges in car parks and on streets across the north of the district - a move strongly opposed by traders and local residents.

The authority has already introduced on street parking meters on 28 streets in Weston-super-Mare town centre and is looking at the possibility of rolling out a similar scheme to the north of the district.

The three car parks in the town centre, which currently offer three hours free parking, are currently owned by the authority but managed by Nailsea Town Council.

The town council employ Euro Car Parks to manage the sites at a cost of £10,000 a year.

The town council wants to agree a 25-year lease with North Somerset which would see it be responsible for the management and maintenance of all three sites - and keep parking free.

The car park at Stockway North is owned by the town centre management group which has said it will continue to offer free car parking in line with others in the town.

The town council has already earmarked £50,000 in its budgets to pay for maintenance and improvements at the car parks over the next two years.

A working party has been set up by North Somerset to look into the possibility of parking charges in the north of the district.

The authority's strategic planning and economic development (SPED) scrutiny panel is due to consider a report by the working party on potential fees and the way forward at its meeting in March.

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.

But according to a report Weston-super-Mare's street parking charging scheme is working 'better than expected'.

The scheme to install 41 parking meters on 28 streets in the town centre went operational on November and since its launch nearly 100,000 tickets have been issued.

People wanting to park in the centre between 9am- 6pm are charged 20 pence for the first 20 minutes, £1 for an hour, £1.80 for 1.5 hours and £2.40 for a maximum stay of two hours.

During the first week, 6,234 tickets were sold, rising to a peak of almost 10,500 in the week before Christmas.

In the first four weeks of the scheme, 37 per cent of tickets sold were for 20 minutes and 44 per cent for an hour.

Since the launch of the scheme, parking inspectors have issued 450 excess charge notices to motorists failing display a valid ticket or overstaying their allotted time.

However it is hoped the number of penalty tickets will reduce as people get used to the scheme.

It cost the council £275,000 to install the parking meters and any profits from the charging regime will be ploughed back into highway improvements across the district.

      

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