Mayor reveals proposed changes to Bristol residents' parking zones

June 12 2013

Extended free parking, a new traders' permit and a reduction in the cost of parking permits for small businesses are among a series of proposed changes to mayor George Ferguson's plan for citywide residents' parking zones.

Extended free parking, a new traders' permit and a reduction in the cost of parking permits for small businesses are among a series of proposed changes to mayor George Ferguson's plan for citywide residents' parking zones. 

The changes to the plan were revealed today (Wednesday, June 12) and follow much debate,from high streets to City Hall, over the proposals for the 18 new zones.

Many traders in Redland and Bishopston have raised concerns at the impact residents-only parking could have on their businesses, while a report by council officers on the scheme was branded "on the scale of inadequate to derisory" at a meeting of the authority's sustainable development and transport scrutiny committee examining the proposals.

Mr Ferguson is due to make a formal decision on whether to push ahead with the scheme later this month after  postponing his verdict to allow more time for discussion and to thrash out the amendments.

Mr Ferguson is proposing:

·    a doubling of free pay-and-display time to 30 minutes

·    a revised permit pricing structure, with reductions in the initial proposed costs for small businesses

·    proposals for a new Traders’ Permit, that will allow tradespeople who need to drive for their work and move freely between zones

·    the addition of a new pre-consultation stage in every future proposed zone (ie from Southville onwards), in which residents and businesses will be consulted before the statutory traffic regulation order stage. 

This additional consultation will include:

·    letters to every resident and business affected; public meetings in each area

·    roadshows and exhibitions in libraries, community centres, etc

·    online consultation, discussion and information

Mr Ferguson said: “These initial adjustments respond to some of the many the ideas for better schemes that I have heard so far. They should take a lot of the issues away at a stroke – particularly regarding trades travel and small business viability. What I want to see now is a clearer process to receive public feedback, and responding to people, which means building in an informal consultation stage.

“It’s very encouraging that so much of the feedback I have heard so far has been about how to make schemes work better, and not how to do away with them altogether. In spite of some of the ‘noise’ that has been generated, from my soundings on the ground I believe that by and large Bristol ‘gets it’. I know it’s not comfortable for a lot of people, who understandbly fear change, but even many of those who would rather not have a scheme, do at least acknowledge that the measure is necessary.

“If what’s on the table doesn’t work well, we can make adjustments at almost any stage of this process, even in regular reviews when schemes are up and running. So change will be an inherent part of this process. I’m perfectly relaxed about continuing debate and listening and amending proposals based on what I have heard.
“What I will not do is put Bristol’s economy, environment and health at risk by taking the scheme off the table. This has to be done to reduce congestion, improve public transport and foster a better quality of life in the city.” 

Councillor Mark Bradshaw, assistant mayor for transport, planning, strategic housing and regeneration, said: "There is genuine flexibility about the schemes which need to be tailored to local needs and circumstances. Equally, citywide issues, such as those raised by business, have been listened to and our search has been for practical, uncomplicated solutions."

Residents are also invited to share their views online at www.askbristoldebates.com