Free parking could soon be scrapped in South Gloucestershire 

Rock Street car park in Thornbury could soon have charges imposed. Credit: LDRS

Council-owned car parks in South Gloucestershire could soon have charges introduced if the money can't be found elsewhere.

South Gloucestershire Council is run as a coalition between Labour and Liberal Democrats. They say the annual budget from February this year - which came out when the Conservatives were in charge -  promised £5m from a “review of income generating opportunities”. 

Now it’s come to light that this money would be coming from new parking fees. The current administration says it would have opposed this if it had known where the money was supposed to come from. 

Councillors now feel they have to bring in charges that have essentially been introduced by the Conservatives, unless they can find the money from elsewhere.

St Mary Street car park in Thornbury is another one at risk. Credit: LDRS

South Gloucestershire Council leader Claire Young (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said at a meeting last month that they needed to find £40million of cuts over the next four years to balance the books.

Cllr Young told the July meeting that the council had “already cut services to the bone, meaning there is little remaining wriggle room to work with”.

She also said there’s concerns about the lack of detail in some of the proposed savings in the 2023/24 budget. 

The Tories insist retaining free parking was a key pledge not only in their manifesto but that of the other two parties and they fear Labour and the Liberal Democrats are now ditching their promise to voters.

The coalition said: “We are working extremely hard with officers to find other methods of income generation that do not involve any parking charges whatsoever. If we can find this income without introducing parking charges, we absolutely will.”

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service