Local residents are well aware of the Mayor's plans to introduce parking charges at Blaise. Cllr Chris Windows and I remain opposed to these plans (having moving budget amendments to remove them, submitted a petition and spoken out at Council). Nevertheless the Council is still proceeding with this plan.
As part of the proposals they have drawn up a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to provide parking restrictions in the immediate vicinity of the car-park.The consultation on this ends 19th December.
The authority should be encouraging people to go outside and enjoy the fresh air - not make it harder and introduce charging.
Chris and I have submitted our objection to the entire parking charge plan and TRO.
Our submission is below:
Objections to proposed TROs (Ref: CAE/RGW/P-1136A) to introduce off-street parking changes and regulating restrictions for vehicles at Blaise Castle Estate.
We wish to put on record our formal objections and opposition to the above draft order, together with the planned waiting time prohibitions under Ref: CAE/RGW/P-1136C, and the entire imposition of parking charges at the Estate.
The grounds for so doing have been well rehearsed. The imposition of a fee schedule at this major leisure and recreational site is ill-considered – bordering upon an irrational decision by the Authority – and can only have a negative impact on this public amenity. At a time when local government should be doing more to encourage the use of these green spaces, the introduction of charges, and waiting restrictions will have precisely the opposite effect. This move will deter access to and patronage of our parks.
In addition, it is clear that many people will seek to avoid these costs by searching for free parking in residential streets not covered by these TROs. Such displacement is sure to cause disruption and risk road safety (and free passage) across a wider area in this part of my Ward.
Planners seem to have paid little regard to a petition we submitted containing over 1000-signatures opposing these proposals when they were consulted upon last year. It is important that this appeal is not treated as one objection but the individual expression of many people. We contend that not only is it a fundamental error to view such open spaces as a potential lucrative source of income, the fact that very little revenue raised this way is ring-fenced for this site. The downside of this policy far outweighs any putative financial gains.
Free access to our valued parks should be provided as a right. These places are part of our heritage which must be preserved in modern parlance for the ‘social value’ they provide to local people and visitors to the city.
It is a matter of regret that the Mayor has not seen fit to reconsider this strategy. Nevertheless, along with many others, we ask that this draft order be revoked, and the introduction of parking charges be halted, before it is allowed to harm the quality of life of residents in the numerous ways outlined above.
Please note that if the Council persists with this form of park/traffic vandalism then a TRO is needed however what has been produced is too limited in nature. It does not take into account the impact on properties on Church Lane or Church Close who have no private drives and so will struggle to park anywhere near their properties. In addition it is too limited in scope. Traffic will be displaced into a much wider area of Henbury as such we believe that any TRO will need to cover additional access points to Blaise off of Henbury Road - up to Chesterfield House and also the area around Station Road.
We repeat our preference would be for sense to prevail and the entire parking charge proposal and TRO to be scrapped as any or all such changes would then be rendered entirely unnecessary.
CLLRS MARK WESTON & CHRIS WINDOWS
Conservative Councillors for Henbury & Brentry