Independent traders are warning about the impact of new parking charges on Bristol’s small businesses.
Bristol City Council has recently announced proposals to introduce parking charges in the city centre on Sundays and bank holidays.
The charges would affect all pay and display machines in the Central Parking Zone (city centre) area.
The council believe it will help increase the turnover of vehicles in the centre, promoting more trade in shops.
But small independent traders believe it will deter people from driving into the centre.
Rosina from Ganesha Handicrafts, a small independent business located on Park Street, thinks the changes to the parking charges will not help the smaller and independent businesses.
“Weekends are important for independent businesses, who rely a lot on customers on the weekends, I feel people shouldn’t need to pay for parking on a Sunday, it’s more of a relaxing day and I think people will just avoid it completely because it can seem like quite a bother,” she said.
They say it’ll help the local economy. No it won’t . I nip down to the Harbourside every Sunday for breakfast and a walk. 2 hours max. As I leave another person takes my place and does the same. If I have to pay, I’ll probably go elsewhere, as will others.
— Rich Lanham (@RichardLanham) 13 April 2018
The council who abolished the Sunday parking charges in 2012, want to reinstate as they believe it would support local retail and leisure businesses by encouraging the turnover of cars parked in the on-street parking bays.
They state that all extra income would be spent to improve transport and roads in the city.
Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, the Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We expect that introducing these new parking charges would have a number of benefits. Firstly, Sunday parking charges should help to support the local economy by encouraging more people to visit the city centre.
“Currently many of the parking bays in the area are occupied by the same vehicles all day, which means there are fewer opportunities for visitors to park.
“The new charges should encourage the turnover of these parking bays and also help to reduce pollution and congestion by encouraging more people to take public transport.”
Currently, parking regulations in the centre allows a maximum of 2 hour stays costing £3.50 from Monday to Saturday (8:00 – 18:00).
The council is holding a public consultation which will end in May.