Keeping politicians to their pre-election promises is never easy, but there seems to be a chink of light at Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES). I attended the Bath City Conference held at the council’s Guildhall and asked a question about cutting city centre council ran parking charges. The question and reply was then picked up by the local newspaper.
"A reduction to the late evening charge in Charlotte Street to £1.50 is imminent," said Cllr Tony Clarke, Cabinet Member for Transport in response to my question. He said B&NES was moving as quickly as possible to reduce the charges but there were legal processes that needed to be completed first. "There's a certain degree of inertia in the system."
This is welcome news as this reduction in charges at one of the council’s major off-street car-parks will certainly help the evening economy in Bath, especially the restaurant and bars. But with the ‘Independent Shops of Bath’ group, we have campaigned to see a cut in the Ultra-Premium on-street parking charges in the centre of the city. Our 1400-signature petition was supported by the then-opposition party, now running the Council, and Cllr Tony Clarke gave his support to our campaign before the election. We hope he delivers on his pledges to ease parking charges in central Bath and help the city’s struggling independent shops.
This action needs to come sooner rather than later as overrunning council road works have already had a negative effect on shopping in many areas of Bath. The imminent impact of six weeks of electrification works on Great First Western lines means trains will not be delivering as many shoppers to Bath over the summer as local traders hope for some of their usually busiest weeks of the year.
Tim Newark is the South West co-ordinator for the TaxPayers' Alliance
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