Traders fearing for the future if parking zones get go-ahead

April 25 2013

Business owners in Bishopston and Redland say they fear resident-only parking zones could hit their trade hard, with some saying they could even close if customers can no longer park their vehicles.

Traders fearing for the future if parking zones get go-ahead

Business owners in Bishopston and Redland say they fear resident-only parking zones could hit their trade hard, with some saying they could even close if customers can no longer park their vehicles. Parking sign

Proposals to introduce parking schemes in 20 areas around the city centre over the next 18 months were unveiled last month by Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson.

Bishopston would be in the final phase, while Redland would be one of the first areas to get permits.

Janet Haigh, owner of Heart Space Studios, in Harcourt Road, Redland, said after two years of work to establish her crafts business, comprising a shop, workshops and children’s party venue, news of a parking zone had left her worrying about the  future.

She said: “We run on a small budget and we try to keep our costs low for the services provided. The intended parking permits would mean we would have to hike our prices accordingly – in this financial climate we will not survive.”

She added: “The small businesses in the Harcourt Road area, along with the schools and other social institutions, which we support and work with, are the heart blood of community.  The restrictive parking as envisaged will change the nature of the business area and deprive the whole community of an exceptional and unique set of facilities.”

Under current parking schemes in the city, businesses can apply for two parking permits at £100 for the first one and £200 for the second. Each business can also buy up to five customer permits, at a cost of £100 each.

Barry Toogood, of Flowers by Barry Toogood in Coldharbour Road, Redland, said he felt it was a cost that would put small, independent traders at a disadvantage.
He said: “Coldharbour Road is a successful group of 26 independent businesses employing in excess of 120 people. I and my neighbours are surprised and concerned that in what is already a challenging economic climate the Mayor’s office is proposing a scheme which will be damaging to local independent businesses and provides a competitive advantage to neighbouring large supermarkets and shopping areas.

“There appears to be no available evidence this proposal is either needed or wanted by the majority of this community.”

Meanwhile, the Mayor responded to concerns raised by Gloucester Road traders in an article from the BBC in which it reported a spokesman said he feared the plans were a “toxic solution”. The spokesman added that business owners would be putting up posters to highlight their concerns. On Twitter, Mr Ferguson wrote: “Toxic? We’ll be working closely with local traders to ensure RPZ does not damage trade – the reverse has been found to be true.”

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “The Mayor has announced his intention to work with businesses to improve environments for shoppers and visitors as part of the proposals.

“What this may mean in new areas is not planned as yet. Business engagement is due to start shortly. In Kingsdown, the scheme works in a certain way to suit the business environment there, and it is very successful. But Gloucester Road is not the same place, and will not have the same issues to resolve.”

More information on parking schemes can be found on the city council’s website at www.bristol.gov.uk/rps.