Bristol City Council’s proposed budget hits motorists hard

Drivers are set to pay a steep price to help Bristol City Council close a £19.5million budget gap, including ending free parking in parks and green spaces.

Residents with disabilities will also be charged for the first time for vehicle spaces outside their homes, while charges will be introduced at 15 car parks where they are currently free.

The proposals are revealed in the authority’s annual budget, which is due to be approved by the Labor cabinet on Tuesday January 18, before the final decision in full council on February 15 where the other parties will present their alternative ideas.

READ MORE: Bristol’s free car park will be removed in some areas due to council tax hikes

Mayor Marvin Rees revealed last week that the 30-minute free stay in Residents Parking Zones (RPZs) would be scrapped to raise £500,000 and hinted at further price increases.

More details have now emerged in the papers from Tuesday’s meeting, including the continued enforcement of restrictions at Bristol Bridge bus gates, with fines set to bring in a further £700,000 and the controversial expansion of parking fees in green spaces.

Charges are already being introduced at Blaise Estate, Oldbury Court and Ashton Court, but the plan is now to extend these to the remaining 13 car parks run by the council’s parks department, with around £80,000 raised to be allocated to maintaining and improving improving the city’s green areas.

On-street car parks and spaces can be found at: Redcatch Park, St Annes, Dundridge, Netham. Horfield Common/Ardargh, Eastville Park, Kings Weston Estate/Shirehampton, Crews Hole Woodland, Stoke Park, Hengrove Park, Bedminster Down, Eastwood Farm and Muller Road.

One of the justifications cited in the cabinet report for introducing the yet unknown costs is to prevent road rage.

He said: “The vehicle queuing proposals should help improve road safety by reducing the potential for conflict in the vicinity of the proposed queuing restrictions.

“The proposal will encourage a turnover of visitors so that the possibility of having access to a parking space can improve.

“An indirect effect of a reduction in the availability of on-street parking could be to encourage people to adopt active forms of sustainable transportation such as walking and cycling, which would bring important health benefits to the individual.”

A review would be undertaken of all free car parks the council operates ‘with a view to introducing appropriate charges’, raising a further £120,000.

These are at Clayton Street, Ridingleaze, Waverley Road, Callington Road, Repton Road, Alexandra Park (currently closed), Beechwood Road, Stoke View, Queens Road, Machin Road, Ducie Road, Chalks Road, Derby Street, Harden Road and Westbury Hill.

There would be no fees or time limits for blue badge holders, according to the report.

The idea of ​​charging disabled people, who have no reasonable off-street parking, to provide spaces close to their homes would save the authority £100,000, although it would only recover the actual costs involved, he said.

“The proposal is likely to have a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities and their carers – particularly those living in low-income households, unless there are concessions/waived fees,” says the report.

A comprehensive review of charges in all council-owned car parks and street parking will also be carried out, followed by a public consultation, with the intention of raising charges in the city center to raise £800,000 additional.

Another budget proposal to raise hourly pay and display rates across Bristol’s 15 RPZs from £1 to £1.30 and raise the price of parking permits and visit vouchers by 17% across all but one, in line with inflation since they were introduced, was agreed by cabinet members last month.

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