What Southville residents have to say on a 50% rise in parking charges

There’s mixed concerns surrounding the price rises of parking in Southville, so we set out to see what the locals had to say

Despite many people not realising there is to be a rise in parking charges across many areas in Bristol, it seems that once it’s considered, people have mixed ideas and concerns about the effect of the change in areas such as Southville.

From concerns over the impact a 50% Pay and Display rise on local businesses to residents of The Chessels worrying it will push more people to park in the already heaving non-permitted areas, here’s what locals had to say in response to the rise in parking charges in Southville.

“I didn’t know anything about the price rises!” says Zara Narracott, who owns Zara Chocolates on North Street. “We tend to park opposite the shop where there isn’t any permitting, and probably a lot of people and our customers do.”

For Ms Narracott, the problem stems from the fact that the council should be looking at other problems before raising the price of parking. “The majority of our customers probably live local, but at weekends we get people visiting or coming for the day down here, and a mix of people driving, cycling and walking,” she explains.

“Transport isn’t great around the city! I don’t think putting the prices up will discourage driving to be honest, so if it’s about making it a cleaner area, then trying to improve transport might make it a cleaner area. Don’t put up parking charges for people who can’t get here any other way.”

For many of the businesses on North Street, particularly this busy section of pay and display, they rely on outside trade driving in

For many of the businesses on North Street, the parking situation has a direct impact on their livelihood and success. Although cafes and smaller shops may get most of their visitors on foot, some shops such as the hardware store, rely on people being able to visit them by car.

With the cost of parking continuing to rise for those who visit from outside of the Residents Parking Scheme, and a lack of options or too many cars in the free areas, many people have stopped visiting the area.

One lady, who wishes not to be named, runs Savana Coffee and has been in the business for 17 years. As she’s not a Southville resident and has a dialysis machine, the parking situation can cause her a lot of stress.

“It’s ridiculous! It might stop people coming to my business,” she says. “Before the pandemic, people used to nip down here, get a coffee, have some breakfast and then go, but now people don’t because there is nowhere to park. It’s difficult and business is difficult. People don’t have the money to spend.”

As mentioned before, there’s an overwhelming feeling that the parking charge rises haven’t been well publicised, and most people within the Southville and Bedminster areas didn’t know it was even happening.

There’s a worry from locals that it could push more traffic onto roads just off North Street, but on the Bedminster side, that aren’t on the Residents Permit Scheme

What’s clear from residents, in particular, is that they are less concerned about the rise in payment for the Residents Parking Scheme, and more concerned about the effect the 50% rise to Pay and Display could have on thriving local businesses. Plus, with one side of North Street (the Bedminster side) not on the Residents Parking Scheme as a whole, it risks creating even more congestion in these already hectic areas.

One local resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Wow, the 50% on pay and display is more of a hike. I suspect the local businesses won’t be happy. Or the Bedminster residents. We used to live on the other side of North Street and anything pushing more parking out of Southville would have been bad news to us.”

But what’s also evident, is that many people feel the parking charges are ignored anyway. “I didn’t know about it, to be honest! I’m alright because I live here, and we’ve got the residents’ parking scheme but people don’t pay anyway, and they park all day in loading bays,” explains Peter Adams who lives on North Street and runs Fishminster.

He goes on to say: “The problem with the resident parking scheme isn’t the cost, it’s the fact that it has gone digital so you don’t know who is a resident or who’s not and the parking wardens never check!

“The council needs money, so someone has to pay and they are always hammering the motorists. I don’t think it will make a lot of difference, and as I said, people don’t pay it half the time anyway. There’s a lot of money here, so maybe it’s not a big deal.”