Free parking in South Gloucestershire Council has been something residents have been able to rely on for years.
It helps and supports local families, businesses, and improves access for vulnerable people in our community. So it is extremely disappointing that South Gloucestershire have proposed introducing parking charges in Council owned car parks. For our rural communities, free, accessible parking is a lifeline.
For those who cannot get a bus to our local shopping centres and for families with their young children, the opportunity to park up in our Council owned car parks and not have to pay, makes a huge difference. And equally for our local businesses, free car parking is a huge boost, ensuring regular footfall and encouraging customers to use local services.
All these car parking charges are going to do, is punish local businesses by making customers shop and visit elsewhere, force cars to park in all the surrounding residential roads rather than in designated car parks, and reduce access for some of the most vulnerable residents in South Gloucestershire.
This feels like just another way to penalise motorists, undermine our local businesses and damage our High Street economy. I have launched a petition, calling on the Council to stop the car parking charges, and to keep parking free in our towns and villages.
The petition will be submitted directly to South Gloucestershire Council, and I will be clear they should reverse this decision, and keep the pledge they made in their local manifestos to protect free car parking.
South Gloucestershire has always been the best place in the country to live, work and start a business. We must keep it that way.