Friday, January 26, 2007

Decision on Parking Charges to be Review!

A public meeting is being held on Monday, 5 February to review a recent decision by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Executive, agreeing proposed changes to parking charges in Bath city centre.

It was agreed at the Executive meeting on 10 January that proposed new parking charges would be implemented in April 2007.

Members of the public are invited to register their interest in speaking at the meeting to be held in the Brunswick Room in the Guildhall, High Street, Bath, at 10.30am.

The introduction in April 2006 of free bus travel for the elderly and disabled, as well as pay-on-foot parking - with all its faults and problems when installed, has resulted in a potential budget deficit in the Council’s transportation budget. The proposed new charges will help to generate enough income to cover this shortfall and allow the Council to continue funding other necessary transport projects.

Nineteen councillors have asked for this decision to be reviewed (or called-in). The councillors feel that parking charges should not be used as a way of raising money in order to meet these shortfalls in the transport budget. They also believe there has not been enough consideration of the impact that these charges will have on local businesses in Bath and that there has been a lack of consultation with residents and the local business community.

The councillors have challenged the decision through the Council’s call-in process, which enables them to request that an Executive decision, which has been made but not yet implemented, is reconsidered.

Cllr David Dixon, Panel Chair, said: “We need to be very clear about the role of this call-in hearing. The panel’s remit is to review whether or not the decision to increase car parking charges in Bath has been properly taken, with due consideration to best practice in consultation, and to the risks surrounding the implications of this decision. The Panel can only decide whether or not to refer this decision back to the Executive to review and has no power to over-rule the decision.”

The Planning, Transportation and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Panel is responsible for leading this review. This cross-party panel will consider the reasons for the call-in and will hear relevant evidence, in order to recommend whether the decision should be implemented or referred back to the Executive Member for reconsideration.

It is important for the Panel to hear from contributors, such as local residents, visitors, and the business community, in order to help determine how well consultation has taken place over the proposed increase in parking charges.

Members of the public who would like to speak at the meeting should contact Democratic Services on 01225 394 411 by 5pm on Wednesday, 31 January 2007.

Written submissions can be made by emailing, or in writing to:

Overview and Scrutiny team,
Parking Review Call-In,
Democratic Services,
The Guildhall,
High Street,
Bath BA1 5AW