November 23, 2017
An hour's free parking proposed in Highbridge to boost town centre

Proposals to introduce an hour's free parking and reduced-rate season tickets at a car park in Highbridge have been unveiled this week in a bid to give the town centre a boost.

The plan for the Bank Street Car Park in Highbridge has been drawn up by a group of town councillors and is set to be debated at a council meeting on Monday (November 27th).

The proposals aim to make the car park more useful to local residents, increase revenue and help the town centre, says the group of Lib Dem councillors.

Cllr Phil Harvey, pictured, told "At the moment, the income from Bank Street from the general public is only £18,000 per year whereas the figures from Oxford Street and Pier Street in Burnham-On-Sea are £94,600 and £247,000 respectively."

"Breaking down the figures for Bank Street show there is a daily usage averaging 46 cars - with a further 20 from Drainage Board employees who benefit from a £3,000 per year contract with Sedgemoor District Council."

"Given the size of the car park, this shows it is seriously underused. Our proposals are designed to address this and provide a better service to the community."

Highbridge town councillor John Parkes added: "There are a number of issues we are trying to address - the reluctance of commuters to pay the present season ticket charge of £720 per year is one which, in consequence, leads to parking in local streets."

"Also, we want to address the need for shopkeepers and their staff for all-day car parking at a reasonable cost; plus the difficulty that local residents have in finding parking for their cars, especially since the ASDA car park is no longer available for more than two hours; and improving the viability of Market Street and Church Street shops by providing free short-term car parking."

Cllr Victoria Weaver added: "If the Drainage Board can rent out spaces at £150 per year each, why shouldn't Sedgemoor make this more widely available? Part of our proposal is therefore to make season tickets - specific to Bank Street only - available at £150 per year to anyone who wants one - whether local residents, workers or commuters."

"At less than 50p a day this should encourage people to use this car park rather than park in the surrounding streets."

On the proposal to provide free car parking for one hour, Cllr Fiona Hector added: "We hope this will encourage people to pop into the shops in Market Street and Church Street instead of out-of-town venues. At the moment, £4,300 is raised from half hour and one hour charges. It would only take 29 of the proposed new season tickets to cover this."

Cllr Harvey said: "I hope we can persuade our fellow Town Councillors to support these proposals and pass them on to Sedgemoor for consideration."

Mike Murphy, Chairman of Highbridge Chamber of Trade, told this week: "We welcome any pragmatic plan that could result in more shoppers coming to Highbridge. We are already working on various parking schemes to encourage this and have created seven extra free spaces in Market Street this year. This scheme will need close consideration by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and Sedgemoor District Council to see if progress can be made."

Sedgemoor District Council declined to comment on the proposals until they have been formally submitted by the Town Council.


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