Bristol Mayor George Ferguson sworn in and scrapping Sunday parking charges
George Ferguson was today officially sworn in as Bristol Mayor - and immediately scrapped Sunday city centre parking charges.
Mr Ferguson was sworn in at a ceremony at the Passenger Shed in Temple Meads this afternoon before an audience of city people.
Within an hour he made good on a pre-election promise to get rid of Sunday charging for on-street parking in the city centre.
He said: “I‘ve heard the traffic management arguments, but I firmly believe in doing everything we can to keep Sunday special and already it is clear that it would only raise peanuts per week, while penalising people coming into the city centre for leisure and shopping.
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"It is a straight-forward decision - on-street parking is free from this coming Sunday and on every Sunday until I can be persuaded otherwise.
“To make Sundays special I shall next year be looking at freeing parts of the city centre of traffic on the first Sunday of the month, taking inspiration from our twin city of Bordeaux where Mayor Alain Juppé has transformed the centre of Bordeaux starting with First Sundays.
"It has been received with great enthusiasm by the people of Bordeaux, and is an example as to how I intend that we learn from the best practice elsewhere.”
VIDEO: ON CAR PARKING CHARGES (ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
Bristol City Council agreed in November 2011 to charge £1 an hour for Sunday parking in the city centre shopping area, and to restrict the maximum stay to one hour.
The charge was introduced on October 28 this year.
The council argued the charges were introduced for traffic management reasons with income expected to be only a few hundred pounds a week.
He also changed the name of the Council House to City Hall and pledged to take his wages in Bristol Pounds.
One of the first big challenges he faces as mayor is to put together a new cabinet.
He said: "Putting together a rainbow cabinet requires diplomacy and all four leaders have entered into conversation in a constructive manner."
VIDEO: ON WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE (ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
He also peldged to work with other councils in the region saying: "I say to you our interests are your interests and your interests are our interests - we are a city region and we must work together"
In the audience was Mark Reid from St Pauls. He said: "I was quite impressed with the speech really. I think he said quite a lot of things that Bristolian's think. It will be interesting to see what he can do to make things better - if possible."
On meeting HM The Queen he said: "I'm not here to break traditions and I will walk behind the Lord Mayor Peter Main and I'll be honoured to do so when we welcome the Queen to Bristol. Her visit will be the beginning of making Bristol the most welcoming city in the UK and Europe."
VIDEO: ON CELEBRATING OUR DIFFERENCES:
VIDEO: REACTION TO BUDGET NEWS: