Bishopston parking zone halted as mayor makes official decision on scheme

June 27 2013

Mayor George Ferguson tonight gave his official approval to plans for parking zones across a large part of the city - but the process has been halted in Bishopston until after a "thorough review".

Mayor George Ferguson tonight gave his official approval to plans for parking zones across a large part of the city - but the process has been halted in Bishopston until after a "thorough review".

Under revised proposals revealed today, Bishopston and seven other areas on the outer edges of the area won't automatically be included in the scheme until the impact of the inner city zones has been assessed.

Traffic studies will be carried out to monitor whether commuter parking is displaced to the outer areas as the scheme progresses in the inner city, to determine whether residents-only zones are needed further away from the city centre.

Mr Ferguson will be pressing ahead with schemes in Cotham North, Clifton, Redland, St Paul's, Easton, St Philip's and Bower Ashton. In Redland, however, changes to the outer boundary could be made, with streets to the north-west of Coldharbour Road excluded from the zone.

Councillors there, as well as in Cotham North and Clifton, will also be given the option of going straight to the final Traffic Regulation Order stage or of calling for an extra round of informal  consultation, adding another three months to the timescale for their area.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Ferguson said: “I’ve always said I was listening, which is why I first brought forward improvements such as the traders’ cross-zone permits, the doubling of the free waiting time in pay and display bays, reduced charges for small businesses and more, and a clear statement that I was willing to look at the outer boundaries.

“No one should be surprised that I am now bringing forward these important changes for consideration, in response to well-argued cases. Bristol’s streets are crammed with far more cars than they were ever possibly built to cope with, exacerbated by the quantity of commuter parking, making radical action needed to cope with the huge traffic challenge I inherited on becoming Mayor.

“I’ve still not heard anything to dissuade me from bringing forward more schemes to add to the four already in place, but I hope that today’s major package of changes will show once and for all that I really do listen to reason.”

Cabinet members at the meeting welcomed the revisions, with Councillor Barbara Janke saying: "It shows a real spirit of willingness to work with people and to look at how the local circumstances can be addressed."

She did, however, call for further consideration of introducing one hour's free parking instead of the suggested 30 minutes and more flexibility to the number of permits a business could purchase, while Gus Hoyt asked for the impact on residents on the lowest incomes to be looked at in greater detail.

Members of the public and councillors not on the Cabinet were also given the opportunity to raise questions with assistant mayor for Transport, Planning, Strategic Housing and Regeneration Mark Bradshaw, with the allotted time extended to an hour.

While Mr Bradshaw said there would be no opting out for residents within parking zones he said the report was an "enabling motion" and he expected there would be further "changes, improvement and modifications" to the final schemes, adding that he wanted to hear about local issues to "get the right fit".

Before the meeting he said: “The changes being considered by the Mayor and Cabinet this week are significantly different to those being discussed over the last month.  The enabling report will provide scope for any further adjustments and improvements, but will allow progress to be made in those parts of the city under greatest parking pressure. These will be our focus and not those which don’t currently have such a commuter parking challenge.”

Amendments made to the original scheme include: doubling free waiting time to 30 minutes, a new cross-zone traders' permit, medical permits for healthcare workers, "essential visitors" permits for carers and discounts for smaller businesses, schools, charities and places of worship. 

There will also be an extra stage of consultation for zones not in the earliest phases of the scheme, in which every resident and business will receive a letter and feedback form, and exhibitions and public meetings will take place.

As a result of the extra consultation, the amended scheme will be delivered by May 2015, the report said, later than the late-2014 date originally proposed.
Each permit zone will also be given a six-month review with residents and businesses asked for feedback.

The revised pricing structure for permits is: residents pay £48 for a first permit, £96 for a second, £192 for a third; businesses pay £240 or £140 concessionary rate for a first permit and £200 for a second; customer permits (maximum of five) are £250 each or £150 conc; visitors' permits remain free for the first 50, then £1 each for the next 50. A new pricing structure for lower emission vehicles is also on the table.