Extra free parking for Keynsham is 'partial victory'

Published on: 03 May 2013

Extra free parking for Keynsham is 'partial victory'

Plans to introduce free parking in a section of The Labbott car park have been hailed as a “partial victory” for campaigners.

The leaders of Bath & North East Somerset Council revealed at the end of April that work was under way to introduce the parking – limited to two hours – by July or August this year for the duration of the construction work on Keynsham’s town centre. There have been no details on how many free spaces will be created as yet.

Work needs to be done to change the traffic regulation order covering tariffs in the area, followed by a period of public consultation, according to a council spokesman.

Traders in the town have led a long-running campaign to axe the 40p fee for short-stay parking, calls that have grown since the start of the £34m regeneration project and the closure of the Civic Centre car park. 

The announcement follows a move by local councillors to put forward an amendment to the council's budget in February, which saw £100,000 earmarked for a trial of free parking in the town during the redevelopment.

Conservative councillors in Keynsham have said they cautiously welcome the proposal but were disappointed it wouldn’t be introduced until the summer.

Cllr Marie Longstaff (Cons, Keynsham East), who moved a council motion last year calling for free parking to be introduced, said:  “It’s a shame it’s been such a long and difficult process to get to this point, but it’s really positive news that Keynsham is finally set to benefit from some free short-stay parking.

“Local traders are to be congratulated for campaigning tirelessly to see this implemented.  If ever there was a welcome U-turn from the council, this is one of them.

“We see this as a partial victory as it looks like the Council will only be introducing a limited amount of free parking and still not for another few months.  B&NES has had since February to work on this, so if the Lib Dems hadn’t been dragging their feet then it could have been implemented much sooner.  Nonetheless, it’s good news that B&NES has finally seen sense.”

Councillor Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham) said: “The fact that B&NES is even looking into the idea of introducing free parking in Keynsham marks a significant U-turn from the council’s previous position, so this is clearly a welcome development.

“However, it’s disappointing that it appears nothing will be put in place until the middle of summer at the earliest, and we don’t yet know how much free parking will be created. B&NES has had since February to work on this, so if the Lib Dems hadn’t been dragging their feet then it could have been implemented much sooner.
“Free parking will benefit our High Street and make shopping trips cheaper and easier for local residents, and needs to be introduced as soon as possible.  We’ll have to reserve judgment until we’ve seen the council’s full plans, but this is at least a step in the right direction.”

At the time of going to press, the council was still finalising the details of the proposals it will put forward.

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