Parking MeterParking in the town centre is a total disaster. Most people are scared of driving their cars because they can’t be sure there will be a parking space for them to park their cars in when they get back home.

Why don’t we have the residents’ permits that we’ve been promised for years? This was raised in 2015 and again in 2017. We even had an unofficial meeting back in September 2019 in Queso (now the Stable) to discuss this. Around 30 local people attended that meeting along with three councillors.

Councillor Robert Payne who gets an extra £7,000-ish a year for being assistant executive member parking strategy and delivery hasn’t exactly delivered on this despite talking a good game on the issue for the past eight years.

Correction: I have been advised that Councillor Robert Payne left the parking job a year ago and I apologise to him unreservedly for incorrectly claiming that he was still undertaking that role.

And it’s next to impossible to use town centre shops. I don’t bother with Proper Job in the centre of town now because the one in Worle has parking next to it. I don’t carry coins these days so I can’t feed the parking meter. That’s ignoring the fact that hardly any of the parking meters in the town centre are actually working at the moment so even if I had coins in my pocket, the meter wouldn’t accept them. And I don’t carry my reading glasses with me everywhere so I can’t read the instructions on the parking meter telling me how to download the app or text to pay or whatever else it expects me to do.

Of course, it’s not an easy one to solve. Weston-super-Mare town centre is a cash cow when it comes to parking revenue and the councillors in other North Somerset Council regions aren’t going to want to start charging for parking in their regions so we can charge less in Weston-super-Mare town centre – that isn’t a vote winner:

“Vote for me and I’ll install parking meters!”

And we can’t have free parking because otherwise the streets will be clogged with people parking for free. People won’t be able to use our local shops because the roads will be full of cars parked up by the people working in those shops and people won’t be able to park outside their homes as their streets will be full of tourists parking their cars there.

But we really do need to do something.

What Would I Do About Parking?

In an ideal world the traffic wardens would be half sensible and would only ticket people who were clearly outstaying their welcome. We’re not going to get that so I think we have to have parking meters that print out a ticket for a short period if you haven’t put any money in and give you a longer stay if you’ve fed it some coins.

I’m not talking about a huge amount of time here. Enough to get 20 B&H, a newspaper, a lottery ticket and to stick £10 on your electric/gas card. Most people I talk to reckon 15-20 minutes is a reasonable amount of time and I tend to agree with that. If you want to park for longer than that I think it’s reasonable for you to expect to have to pay.

And we do need residents’ permits. If people are paying Council Tax and car tax they should be allowed to park on the street where they live without having the start of their working day ruined because they’ve got to their car and found a ticket on the windscreen.

And let’s face it, we shouldn’t have so many broken parking meters. Is it really all that difficult to get them repaired? Quite a lot of them have had stickers over the coin slot for several months now.

This is the Back to Basics stuff I keep banging on about. It really isn’t rocket science. And I really don’t know why it hasn’t already been done.

Thoughts? Email me: