£30 to park in front of your house


Thousands of residents in Bristol face a £30 charge for parking permits under controversial plans being considered by the council.But even then residents who buy the permits in certain areas of the city will NOT be guaranteed a parking space.

Southville, Kingsdown, Cliftonwood, and Old Market were among areas shown to councillors as examples of where permit parking could be imposed.

Members of Bristol City Council's physical environment scrutiny committee were told the scheme could be up and running "over the next couple of years" with pilot schemes having already been drawn up.

Families with three cars face a £270 bill for permits – £30 for the first pass, £60 for the second, and £180 for the third.

Councillors asked Colin Knight, the officer presenting the scheme, whether the permits could be introduced city-wide.

He said: "There could be pressure from a lot of the city for this, but we have to start somewhere."

In certain areas, bays may be set aside for pay-and-display parking for people visiting the area, he said.

But Mr Knight said paying for a permit would not guarantee residents a parkingspace outside their homes.

He said: "One of the misconceptions of a residents' parking scheme is that you are guaranteed a space in the scheme, or outside your own home. That is wrong, it is first come, first served."

Limiting the number of passes available in the scheme or per household was another option discussed by members of the committee.

Southville councillor Sean Beynon (Lab) said one major issue in areas such as his was commuters who park there and walk or get into the city centre by other means.

He said: "I got a text from my girlfriend this morning telling me where our car was parked because it was so far from our house – we need to do what we can to stop that happening.

"In these Victorian terraced streets there are real problems."

Councillor Barbara Lewis (Brislington East, Con) asked whether the permits would be zoned or would cover the whole of Bristol.

She said: "Right on the edge of Bristol residents want parking permits because they are sick of commuters parking there and catching the bus into the city."

She said the suggested permit cost of £30 "looked low".

Committee chairman, councillor Gary Hopkins (Knowle, Lib Dem), said: "Looking at Southville there are less potential spaces available than there are residents' cars – and commuters come and park there.

"You don't have a right to park outside your house, but if people have got to park miles away, they won't like that."

He said people would need reassurances the money they spent on permits was not being squandered.

"People will need to see where the money goes from the permits and that it will make a major difference."

Other matters discussed were whether such a scheme would be 24-hour, and whether certain vehicles should be charged more.

The committee's views will be put into a report given to the council's cabinet on November 15.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hopkins said money raised would probably be spent on enforcing the scheme with parking attendants.

He said: "If you are going to have a residents' parking zone one of the key things is to have wardens there to protect it."

Residents in Knowle regularly complain to him of commuters parking near the Wells Road and catching buses into the city centre.

But he said the scheme would have to cover a number of areas.

He said: "If you put a squeeze on parking in one area to give residents preference, those commuters would move to park in another area."

He expressed concerns that Bristol's public transport system may not be able to cope with the intended extra uptake after such a zone is introduced.

Commuter Harry Mottram, who drives in from Axbridge in Somerset, parks in Southville and cycles the rest of the way, said he would simply park further out if permits were introduced.

He said: "Normally I park in Upton Road, Southville, outside Imperial Tobacco where there are no houses.

"I then cycle the two or three miles to Old Market. It saves parking charges and, above all, a long wait in a traffic jam.

"If parking restrictions were introduced I would simply park further away and cycle a little bit longer each day."