Bath’s ‘parking tax’ own-goal

July 02, 2013 12:35 PM

Great discontent has been stirred up by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s (B&NES) recent hike in parking fees and extension of pay-and-display to include the whole of Royal Victoria Park.

‘It’s daylight robbery, or the introduction by B&NES of a Parking Tax,’ says a Bath TPA supporter. ‘For my visitors to park at or near my home, they must display a Visitors’ Permit that until recently was valid for a 24 hour day. The validity of this permit has just been reduced in time from 24 hours to 4 hours—thereby increasing the daily charge to me or my visitor six-fold!’

Equally annoying for many residents is the extension of the council’s parking charges into Royal Victoria Park. Previously, this oasis of free parking in the city had been immensely popular with local workers and visitors to the city, providing a very useful service. Now, B&NES wants to make the parking available only for visitors to the park and not the city—but the result has been a dramatic own-goal as even visitors to the park itself have been driven away by the steep short-term parking charges. With little revenue coming in to cover the expense of hiring parking wardens to patrol the park, it looks set to cost the local taxpayer even more. Worse than that is it’s even threatening the viability of taxpayer funded local amenities such as the nearby Approach Golf Course.

‘I am a member of the Bath Approach Golf Course Seniors League that plays competitively at the Approach Course every Tuesday morning,’ explains a Bath TPA supporter. ‘There is no parking available to us within the bounds of that course. The two-hour metre parking restriction in Royal Victoria Park close to this course affords insufficient time to play 18 holes. Given such a limitation, there is a risk that the Approach Course could be forced to close due to lack of support.’

It’s extraordinary how B&NES doesn’t even factor into its decision-making the impact of parking charges on its very own services!

‘This implies a deliberate policy of taxation of the private motorist,’ concludes our local supporter, ‘be they Bath resident or visitor, that I find unimaginative at best and offensive at worst.’

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