Bridport Town Council could pay £13,000 compensation a year for lost parking revenue (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Bridport Town Council could pay £13,000 compensation a year for lost parking revenue
BRIDPORT Town Council could end up paying £13,000 a year in ‘compensation’ to Dorset County Council for lost parking revenue on market days.
Dorset County Council has stirred up a hornets’ nest of opposition with proposals to introduce on-street parking charges.
And the anger is rocketing with the possibility that the town will have to pay thousands to the county council for lost parking revenue on market days.
County, district and town councillor Ros Kayes said she would do everything she could to prevent it.
Coun Kayes said: “It is not the role of a county council to bankrupt the town council’s community fund which comes from the market revenues.
“I will do everything I can to prevent this.”
People are still signing the Bridport News-backed parking petition in their hundreds and numbers are heading towards 6,000.
Town council leader Sarah Williams said: “It is horrifying to read, based on the county council’s estimates of the loss of revenue could total more than £13,000 a year. The county council has indicated that it would look for compensation from the town council, which would have a massive impact on the market.
“The report states this proposal will encourage use of public transport at the same as the county council is currently proposing to reduce the bus services from outlying areas into Bridport. This proposal continues to represent a significant threat to the vitality of the town centre and the town council will continue to do all it can to oppose it.”
Now politicians want to collate hard evidence in a questionnaire to find out who, how and why people use the current one-hour free parking in East, South and West streets, Chards Mead Road and Rax Lane.
Market traders’ representative Roy Gregory said although the possibility of having to pay ‘compensation’ for lost parking revenue had solidified campaigners’ opposition it was essentially a side issue. He said the town needed to fight the principle rather than the details of the scheme.
He said: “I think we are missing the point if we just concentrate on the £13,000. It might have hardened campaigners attitudes but it is not really the point.
“There is such a groundswell of opposition the county council will have a hard job ignoring it. If they do it will mean their consultation is completely meaningless.”
John Nester of Bridget’s Market said the meters plan was ‘ludicrous’ and added that he hadn’t heard of anyone who supported it.
County councillors will consider a report on the scheme at their overview and scrutiny committee on October 1.
Campaigners are angry that no mention is made of the town’s opposition in that report.
The county has a budget of £400,000 for the introduction of pay and display schemes and believes revenue will pay back the investment within two years. There would be 18 machines in Bridport to cover 150 parking spaces.
Matthew Piles, traffic manager for Dorset County Council, has previously said the proposals were essential to ease congestion and keep traffic moving safely and efficiently.
His report to the environment overview committee said motorists were more likely to pay attention to time limits with pay and display schemes.
He said: “Consequently, the turnover of parked vehicles increases, therefore presenting shoppers with greater opportunity to find on-street parking places.”
Enforcement officers can also enforce restrictions better with pay and display, he added.
He said data from ‘before and after’ parking surveys in Dorchester indicate the scheme achieved its goal of a greater turn-over of vehicles, which is likely to increase trade.
He said: “It is not about raising revenue. Any money raised from on-street parking would be reinvested into the council's traffic management service. It would fund the maintenance of signs, lines and meters, plus enforcement work.”
- Councillor Kayes will be in Bucky Doo Square on Saturday and people can pick up questionnaires from her, and they will be in shops and are already in the Bridport News office, which is where completed forms need to be returned.