Bath Voice News: changes to Moorland Road parking leads to comments over the date of when it starts

By John Wimperis, local democracy reporter: Shoppers are already struggling to find somewhere to park on a popular Bath high street despite new rules not coming into force for another two weeks.

David Pye has run popular greeting cards and gifts shop This ‘n’ That on Moorland Road with his wife Judith for 25 years. He said: “People are coming into our shop saying we can’t find anywhere to park because its all permit holders’.”

Despite new signage having already been put up on the road by Bath and North East Somerset Council, the permit holders only rules do not come into effect until August 29 — when Moorland Road the surrounding area will become part of the Oldfield Park and Westmoreland Residents Parking Zone.

Mr Pye said: “Its causing a lot of confusion because they are putting the markings in the road, they are putting the signs up, and then they are telling people its being delayed. People don’t know that.”

The new parking rules in the area had been scheduled to kick in on July 31 — in line with the city’s other new residents parking zone which covers Walcot, Snow Hill, and Claremont Road — but on July 19 the council announced it would be pushed back so they could include more short-stay parking bays for visitors.

There had been uproar from local businesses and organisations who feared that people would be unable to park on the street to do their shopping or use the services.

Mr Pye said: “My personal view is that the whole organisation of this is a complete shambles. […] The council say it can’t be stopped, however they can delay it for a month.

“Not enough thought has gone into it.”

He added: “This is not just an entirely residential area. This is an area where there is one of the biggest shopping centres outside of Bath city centre, as well as churches and schools.”

Announcing the delay to the scheme in July, the council’s cabinet member for transport said: “We have met and are working closely with the community, to ensure that scarce parking space is allocated fairly and proportionately, prioritising those that live here but also ensuring visitors have the allocation they need to continue to support this vibrant area.”

But Mr Pye is there has already been an impact. He said: “We are already seeing a decline in footfall. This could be due to these signs going up.”

At a council meeting last month, Leigh Samways, who co-owns the street’s hardware store Francis DIY, warned that some people already thought they were not going to be able to park on Moorland Road.

She told the council: “The risk to us and the local community is too high and if this goes wrong, far from improving things, it could destroy our vibrant community.”

The price of a parking permit in Bath and North East Somerset is based on vehicle emissions. The council states that a permit for an average eight-year old 1.6L petrol or diesel family car will normally cost between £100 and £125 a year.

It could be as cheap as £50 a year for an electric vehicle or, for the very largest pre-2001 diesel engines, as expensive as £250. Permits are limited to two per property, with properties with their own off street parking eligible for less.

The residents parking zone will operate seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, but not at bank holidays. Double yellows and disabled bays will operate at all times, unless a sign indicates otherwise.

Blue badge holders will be able to park in permit holders only bays for any amount of time they need.

Bath Voice and Local Democracy Reporters

The journalists are funded by the BBC as part of its latest Charter commitment, but are employed by regional news organisations. A total of 165 reporters are allocated to news organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland including Bath Voice. These organisations range from television and radio stations to online media companies and established regional newspaper groups. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities, second-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.

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