Bath shopkeepers gathered outside the Guildhall in the centre of the city to hand in their petition to Bath & North East Somerset council (B&NES), with over 1400 signatures from shoppers and traders protesting at the recent rise in council parking charges.
Since council parking fees in central Bath went up by 40 per cent at the start of the year, Bath Independent Shopkeepers have been fuming and have directed their anger towards gathering a petition of signatures from shopkeepers and customers who all oppose Bath council’s high parking fees—and the TPA has been side by side with them helping their campaign. With over 1,400 signatures now, their petition will trigger a full council debate about parking charges.
‘We want to see a cut in the parking fees in Laura Place and other city centre shopping streets,’ says lead petitioner Jo Davies of shop Grasse. ‘B&NES made a mistake raising the parking fees in Victoria Park and have now been forced to cut them. We want to see the same here in the centre of the city where it can help shoppers and Bath’s independent shopkeepers.’
‘I’ve been helping Jo gather signatures for this petition,’ says Tim Newark of Bath Taxpayers’ Alliance. ‘It’s the independent shops and restaurants in Bath that make this city special. I’d like to see B&NES introduce a free half hour of parking in the city centre. This would encourage customers to pop in and browse. It’s the idea of Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for High Streets, so I can’t see why B&NES can’t adopt it here.’
Many of the signatories of the petition are independent shopkeepers from some of Bath’s most attractive city centre locations, including Walcot Street, Broad Street, Milsom Place, Upper Borough Walls and Bartlett Street, and some of them joined the protest outside the Guildhall.
B&NES have also hit the headlines recently with more ill-judged revenue raising. Their trial bus gate has raised £270,000 in just one month from drivers being fined for going the wrong way along Dorchester Street. So many people have complained about the poor signage leading to the bus gate, that the Council is being forced to investigate the whole matter. Bath shopkeepers fear this is yet another discouragement for visitors to come to Bath.