New charges and cuts to balance books

DRIVERS will pay an estimated £1.5 million every year in new parking fees to South Gloucestershire Council.

Despite two thirds of people responding to a consultation opposing the new charges, council bosses are pressing ahead with the unpopular plan anyway.

The parking fees will first be introduced to council-owned car parks across South Gloucestershire, before on-street parking fees are brought in too.

Council-owned car parks in the area include Page Road, Byron Place and Haynes Lane in Staple Hill, St James in Mangotsfield, Kingswood shopping centre and the Lyde Green Park and Ride.

Council leader Claire Young has said some parking spaces will stay free

The Liberal Democrat/Labour run council is hoping that the extra income means fewer cuts have to be made to essential public services.

However union Unison says cuts of £473,000 to libraries and £79,000 to the contact centre and One Stop Shops, by cutting opening hours, and £641,000 a year from trading arm Integra, mean “likely” job losses, cuts to working hours and opening times.

Plans to introduce a £10 fee for disabled drivers to apply for or renew a blue badge, to raise an extra £46,000 per year, could “isolate an already isolated community”, disability group Equalities Voice has warned.

By Alex Seabrook & Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service