‘It could be the final nail in the coffin’ - Anger over plan to scrap free parking next to shops

‘It’s using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’

The proposal to scrap free parking in two Brislington car parks could be ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for the area’s traders, warns the ward’s councillor today (January 22).

Both Callington Road car park, opposite Lidl, and Repton Road car park, off Sandy Park Road, could have Pay and Display introduced if Bristol City Council rubber-stamp plans put forward in an upcoming cabinet meeting. In total, 10 busy, free-to-use car parks have been earmarked for parking tariffs.

Brislington West councillor, Andrew Varney told Bristol World the proposals will add further to independent businesses’ woes during a cost of living crisis.

He said: “The council claims it wants to support district shopping areas and has made big efforts to encourage residents to shop locally and independent but these traders rely on people arriving via car, especially for big purchases. By imposing these charges, you’re going to discourage people from using these shopping streets when stores are already struggling due to the impacts of the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis. I fear this could be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of businesses.

“Sandy Park Road is the main shopping area in my ward, we already have a problem with anti-social parking - drivers parking on the pavement and residential streets or reversing across zebra crossings to get to the post office, quite dangerous at times. Adding charges to the car park could encourage this behaviour.”

In its notes prepared ahead of Tuesday’s (January 24) cabinet meeting, the authority states that it would be ‘considered beneficial to introduce Pay & Display parking in order to promote short stay turnover, and encourage a modal shift away from the private car’. Lib Dem Cllr Varney accepts some motorists take advantage of the car parks’ current three-hour stay rule but feels the council’s solution is overkill.

He said: “Some people do stay longer [than three hours] but that is simply because there is no enforcement - if parking attendants were checking then the problem could be solved. I think [introducing charges] is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There are other ways of dealing with people staying longer than they should without punishing everyone for the selfish actions of a few.

“I recognise the council has a budget deficit which has to be plugged somehow but drivers are seen as a cash cow [to the council], it is unfair.”