Parking charges could be introduced at all car parks managed by Bristol City Council’s parks service, under budget proposals unveiled.
The council needs to bridge a £19.5 million gap in 2022/23 - and drivers are set to help pay for it under the planned budget, expected to be rubber-stamped by the Labour cabinet tomorrow (Tuesday, January 17).
As already revealed last week, the 30-minute free stay at Residents’ Parking Zones (RPZs) would be axed to raise £500,000 under the proposed budget.
A review would also be undertaken of all free car parks the council operates “with a view to introducing appropriate charges”, raising another £120,000.
Now it has emerged that the council plans for a controversial expansion of parking fees at green spaces across the city.
Charges are already being introduced at Blaise Estate, Oldbury Court and Ashton Court, but the plan is now to extend these to the remaining 13 car parks managed by the council’s parks service.
About £80,000 would be raised and allocated to maintaining and improving the city’s green areas.
The car parks and on-street spaces are at:
Redcatch Park, St Annes, Dundridge, Netham, Horfield Common/Ardargh, Eastville Park, Kings Weston Estate/Shirehampton, Crews Hole Woodland, Stoke Park, Hengrove Park, Bedminster Down, Eastwood Farm and Muller Road Recreation Ground.
One of the justifications cited in the cabinet report to introduce costs is to encourage a ‘turnover of visitors’.
It said: “The proposal will encourage a turnover of visitors so that the opportunity to have access to a parking space could improve.
“A lack of spaces is often an issue during holidays and good weather.”
It also said that the move could encourage more sustainable forms of transport including walking and cycling, adding they would deliver significant health benefits.”
The council had initially considered a £2 flat fee for parking - but has now amended it, and is now proposing free parking before 9am and after 6pm, and a staggered charge starting at £1, up to £3 for a maximum five hours.
It said: “The vehicle waiting proposals should contribute to improved highway safety by reducing the potential for conflict in the vicinity of the proposed waiting restrictions.
“The proposal will encourage a turnover of visitors so that the opportunity to have access to a parking space could improve.
“An indirect effect of a reduction in the availability of on-street parking could be to encourage people to take up active forms of sustainable transport such as walking and cycling, which would deliver significant health benefits to the individual.”
A full review of charges across all council-owned car parks and on-street parking bays will also be carried out, followed by public consultation, with the intention of increasing fees in the city centre to collect an extra £800,000.
Bristol City Council’s Labour cabinet members are expected to rubber-stamp the budget proposal tomorrow at a meeting, starting at 4pm.
It will then go for a final decision at full council on February 15 where the other parties will table their alternative ideas.