Home News Parking charge plans could be axed at beauty spots

Parking charge plans could be axed at beauty spots

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Hopes have been raised that proposed parking charges at two Bristol beauty spots, which have been hanging over residents for three years, will be ditched.

Mayor Marvin Rees says the city council is “doing everything we can” to avoid scrapping free parking at Blaise Castle Estate and Oldbury Court.

He says no timescale is in place to introduce the fees of up to £3 to leave cars at the parks and that they will continue to be reviewed, but that the authority faces a “really dire financial need”.

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And Mr Rees pledged to work with Henbury & Brentry ward Conservative Cllr Chris Windows, who raised the issue at Bristol City Council member forum on Tuesday, July 6.

Plans for drivers to pay a flat day rate of £2, along with “no waiting” restrictions and double and single yellow lines on nearby roads, were first revealed by the local authority in June 2018

Despite two public consultation exercises, nothing happened until a year later when Tory group leader and fellow ward Cllr Mark Weston was told the traffic regulation orders would be introduced in October 2019.

But they never were, and another consultation was launched that November over a different range of fees, with drivers set to be charged £1 for up to one hour, £2 up to two hours and £3 for up to five hours, 9am to 6pm daily.

At the time the council said the changes would allow a “turnover of spaces” at the estates, including the car park at Snuff Mills, and enable the authority to invest more in its heritage assets and green spaces.

But then Covid-19 threw the plans into disarray.

In a written question to the City Hall meeting, Cllr Windows said there was “considerable local opposition”.

“This opposition hinges on the impact it will have on the surrounding neighbourhood as park users seek to avoid the charges,” he said.



Cars parked at Blaise Castle Estate where it is currently free to park

“Users will try to park on the road outside if charges are made and, as has already been experienced, this will cause dangerous parking as well as difficulties to local residents in accessing and exiting their homes.

“Can the mayor confirm whether he is pressing ahead with these unwelcome proposals and, if so, what the timeline for introduction is?”

In his reply, Mr Rees wrote: “The proposal to introduce car parking fees to Blaise Estate and other sites was a principle adopted to help build a financially resilient and sustainable future for the city’s parks and green spaces.

“We’ve not introduced these parking fees, there is no agreed timeline to do so and we will continue to review them.”

Speaking at the meeting, the mayor added: “No one wants to come in and start introducing parking charges in parks unless there is a really dire financial need and that’s what we face.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure we avoid charges.”



Oldbury Court Estate in Fishponds

Mr Rees also said more traffic calming measures were being worked on for the crash hotspot at Kings Weston Road into Hallen Road.

Cllr Windows said: “The cars are travelling too fast to make the corner and this has led to some devastating crashes.

“It is a miracle that no one has been killed.”

He said a proposal for a zebra crossing would be considered by the council’s local area committee but that it was only part of the solution and that officers were “working up a large road safety scheme for strategic funding”.

Asked whether that would be looked on favourably and funding prioritised, the Labour mayor told Cllr Windows: “Officers are reviewing the options to address the concerns here and have shared some initial ideas with you to show how this could fit with your request for a crossing.



Damage to a home in Hallen Road after a car crashed into it in July 2020

“Work to date includes: new chevron bend sign was installed; lining improvements – hatching and slow markings refreshed; review of collisions and causes completed; currently working on feasibility of zebra crossing on approach to bend with extended 20mph limit and new waiting restrictions.

“Once the scheme has been costed then they will explore the relevant funding options to supplement anything the area committee allocates.”

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