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BATH: Parking permit shakeup

BATH: Parking permit shakeup

Stephen Sumner.

The days of free Sunday parking in more than 1,000 on-street parking spaces in central Bath are numbered. 

While not yet finalised, seven-day charges were part of a raft of measures approved by cabinet members in July alongside emissions-based fees for residents’ permits and a major shakeup of parking arrangements for hotels.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has already consulted on the measures – designed to encourage uptake of lower emission vehicles – but residents and businesses can comment on proposed traffic regulation orders until November 11.

Here’s what is on the cards.

Sunday charges

There are more than 1,000 on-street parking bays in Bath that charge from 8am to 7pm Monday to Saturday. The same charging hours are set to be introduced on Sundays.

The council previously said the extra charges were expected to bring in an additional £85,000 in the first year.

The 10 per cent discount offered to Bath residents when they pay for on-street parking in the city is set to be scrapped.

Emissions-based charges

In Bath, permits currently cost £100 a year for the first and £160 for the second, while in Keynsham residents pay £40 and £50 respectively.

The council says some residents will see a significant rise in the cost of their permits – depending on the vehicle’s emissions, they will cost £50 per year or as much as £400 for the worst polluting diesels.

However, in a trial running until March, drivers of zero-emission vehicles will be offered permits for just £10 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other permit costs are also set to increase over the next three years.

Permit eligibility

In most areas of Bath and North East Somerset, residents are entitled to up to two parking permits.

Under the new proposals, residents with driveways, garages or other off-street private parking within the curtilage of their property will be able to get fewer permits than those without.

Hotel parking 

The council previously said it wanted to end the abuse of permits issued to hotels – which can reportedly earn up to £2,600 a year on an £80 permit by charging guests daily to use them.

Under the proposals, tourist accommodation will be allocated into inner and outer zones. In the inner zone, permits will only allow parking in the council’s long-stay car parks in Avon Street, Charlotte Street and Manvers Street, while in the outer zone hotels will be charged £15 for 24 hours for each permit.

Hoteliers have warned the move will harm business and result in unnecessary extra car journeys. One hotel in the outer zone has estimated that its yearly parking permit bill will rise from some £1,700 to approximately £68,600.

New hotels, guest houses and holiday lets will be ineligible to apply for permits once the TRO is sealed, which is likely to happen by early January.

Hotelier Harry Tedstone told cabinet members in July they were giving Airbnb operators an unfair competitive edge because they can use their resident visitor permits to park guests on the street at little or no extra cost.

Permits for medics and carers

The council said in November it wanted to crack down on medics and carers, who it said abused their permits for cheap commuter parking.

The consultation says: “Medical and social care parking permits are designed to allow home visits to patients in the course of work, and must not be used for daily or commuter parking on public roads with parking controls.

“This means parking near a regular place of work, such as a surgery or medical practice.

“Even when attending patients at a medical practice, before going on a visit or when returning to work after a visit, the medical parking permit should not be used.

“Vehicles observed in close proximity to the user’s regular surgery or medical practice may be issued with a penalty charge notice, and the permit may be cancelled.”

The cost of the permits is set to increase from £60 to £100.

Disabled bays

Vehicles which are loading or unloading, including scaffolding vehicles, can currently park in disabled bays.

The council plans to remove these “unintended exemptions” so the spaces are only available for Blue Badge holders.

What the council said

Councillor Manda Rigby, the cabinet member for transport, said: “The changes to on-street parking charges are part of a much broader ambition to achieve better air quality for Bath and North East Somerset, make charging fairer and nudge people to consider air quality when they purchase a car.

“We haven’t increased residents’ parking charges for eight years. This will rebalance the provision of on street parking in favour of residents rather than visitors.

“We ran a consultation in April and listened to residents and businesses before cabinet made its decision in July.

“We have a legal duty to advertise any TRO, and to invite public comment so we are now inviting people to state their support or objection to the TRO and give their reasons.”

Visit https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/parking-tro-consultation-autumn-2021 to respond to the consultation.

The phased implementation of the proposals will begin in January.

Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter


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