Parking penalties ‘are crippling Gloucester Road’

April 24 2015

PARKING offenders in Gloucester Road forked out over £87k in fines last year.

PARKING offenders in Gloucester Road forked out over £87k in fines last year.

The high street, which has the largest number of independent traders on any one road in the UK, was ranked the seventh 'worst street' outside of London for motorists being hit with parking fines.

The figure was published in the Daily Express, and has been confirmed by Bristol City Council.

A total of 2,440 notices were issued between 2013-14.

Tom Murray, owner of butchers T & PA Murray in Gloucester Road, believes that the penalties are “choking the high street”, as they are beginning to turn shoppers away.

He said: “While there is good local support, traders still need customers coming in from the outside – and with the council handing out as many parking fines as they are, it's going to turn people away. It's not sustainable for the street.

“The council says that it's a thriving high street, but they are doing nothing to help it. £87k is a crazy amount if they're wanting Gloucester Road to survive.”

Mr Murray, who has been on the Gloucester Road for over 20 years, says that since the showcase route – a bus lane which comes in to operation during rush hours – was introduced around nine years ago, he has lost a significant amount of trade due to motorists not being able to park.

Motorists, who are caught parking in the bus lanes during the operation hours, are at risk of having their car towed away.

He added: “We used to have a really vibrant early morning trade – I used to have customers picking up their meat before and after work. But we've lost two and half hours, in both the morning and evening.

“I moved here because it was a vibrant road, and the council was putting a big emphasis on supporting small businesses, but I think I was just being naïve.

“I hope Gloucester Road retains its individualism for many years, but I do have doubts. It's a very special area – there's nowhere else like it in the country. I find it very difficult to comprehend that why the council are wanting to destroy it.

“If local authorities take away parking restrictions, then high streets will thrive.”

Out of the 2,440 tickets issued, 1,578 were for parking, resulting in almost £58k worth of fines, and 862 were for parking in the bus lane, resulting in almost £30k worth of fines.

Dan Stern, owner of the Fish Shop in Gloucester Road, said that his main concern is the potential threat of Gloucester Road being included in a residents' parking zone.

He said: “We have seen less tow always over the last year but it might be just that people are now more aware of the clearway.

“Our main concern now is that we get enough parking time for customers when the RPZ comes in. Anything less than two free hours will be a real problem.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “Gloucester Road has for some time been one of the city’s main thoroughfares and is also well known as being one of the country’s most significant independent retail areas.

“We recognise that as a result demand for parking is at a premium. In a bid to ensure that a balance is struck between providing sufficient space and access for residents, visitors, customers, disabled badge holders and those seeking to travel along the road, it is necessary that teams on the ground enforce a variety of restrictions.

“We welcome the comments made by traders on Gloucester Road, their knowledge and experience of the local environment always provides good insight into how this balance can be maintained.”

Gloucester Road