Traders react to figures showing Gloucester Road is worst-hit Bristol street for parking fines

1,305 fines handed out in the last year

Traders along Gloucester Road have reacted to figures showing that Gloucester Road is the worst-hit street in Bristol for parking fines, saying: “We could certainly do without it.”

Bristol City Council records show that motorists parking on the bustling street, home to many independent shops, restaurants and bars, were hit with 1,305 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) in the 2020/2021 financial year.

It mean that drivers who broke parking rules within that time had to cough up £47,187 in total.

It’s the ninth highest figure outside of London, where the worst-hit street was Browning Road in Newham with 67,557 fines issued.

Some Gloucester Road traders aren’t thrilled about the figures. These are difficult times for local businesses up against a cost of living crisis just as the after-effects of the pandemic were beginning to subside.

The road has ‘tidal parking’ system where the bus lane on the inbound side of the road is cleared of parking in the morning, between 7.30am and 9.30am, and in the evening between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

Darren Willis, owner of wine shop Grape and Grind, told BristolWorld that the fines ‘did catch people out, without question’, particularly if they didn’t know the area well.

1,305 Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) were given to motorists over the last year, costing drivers almost £50,000.

“I don’t live far from here so I just happen to know the rules - you can’t park between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, which is when I believe most of the fines are handed out,” he added.

“There’s a fixed camera here along with a mobile car, not just wardens, so if you park thinking it’s ok because nobody’s around, the camera still might get you.

“We certainly could do without it. As a consumer myself, if you park somewhere and get hit with a fine, of course it’s going to leave you with a negative feeling.”

Gordon Montgomery, owner of The Centre for Better Grooves, said something would have to change if businesses along Gloucester Road were to thrive.

“I think a lot of people get fined because they simply aren’t aware of the rules,” he aid.

“You can park here after 9.30am until 4.30pm, but once those hours are up the road outside my shop becomes a bus lane and you’ve had it.

“Get rid of the bus lane and you solve the problem, we don’t need it. Just allow parking on one side of the road and put meters up with affordable rates.”

Aside from the concerns raised by the two traders, there are some who are in support of the parking system.

One local resident who travels by bike, car and on foot said that it worked well, adding that drivers needed to ‘take more responsibility for their actions to ensure they did not endanger the lives of others’.

The data was gathered by car insurance provider confused.com, which sent Freedom of Information Requests to local authorities in the UK asking which streets in their area had racked up the most PCNs.

The study found that more than half (52%) of motorists who received a PCN have appealed it, but only a small number of drivers (6%) feel that their local council had an easy process in place to appeal.