Controversial Ashton Court parking charge comes into force
Motorists will from today have to pay to park at Ashton Court Estate.
The move, implemented by Bristol City Council, will see drivers charged £1 per vehicle per day.
Valid tickets will have to be displayed in the windscreen of all vehicles, and failure to do so will see motorists dealt a penalty charge of £70 - reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.
Regular patrols will be carried out across all car parks, to ensure the new parking policy is being followed.
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Charges apply until the Estate closes each day. The valid ticket will be useable in any Ashton Court car park for that day, and motorists will be able to return during the same day without any additional charge.
Disabled blue badge holders, motorcycles and scooters park for free.
And as a concession for early-morning dog walkers, the council has stipulated that the charges will not come into force until 10am in Church Lodge Car Park (Dovecote) and 9am in Mansion House Car Park.
Clifton Lodge Car Park (Golf) charges commence at 6am.
The parking charge has been given the go-ahead despite a petition opposing its introduction signed by more than 1,300 people.
The move is also strongly opposed by Long Ashton Parish Council. Its chairman, councillor Nigel Moorcroft, previously told This is Bristol the charge was a “tax on health” because “it’s the first decent patch of open green space where they can go for a walk.”
Today, Councillor Moorcroft stood by that claim. He said: “It’s a disgrace.
“It means that people who would normally park there are now going to park in the high street. It’s already dangerously overused.
“With all the parking restrictions being made it seems they don’t want people in vehicles in Bristol at all. That’s a restriction on the freedom of rights.”
Councillor Moorcroft maintains people should be given free access to Ashton Court. He said: “It was always supposed to be a benefit for the whole Bristol area. Now, for those who can pay they can benefit, and those who can’t won’t.”
Councillor Moorcroft also fears buses and emergency vehicles will struggle to access the town if more motorists park their car on the high street in a bid to escape the Ashton Court charge.
“Until they build infrastructure that is integrated, I don’t know why they are imposing this harsh policy on vehicle access,” he said.
However, Cabinet Councillor Gary Hopkins has defended the plans. He previously told This is Bristol he hoped the charge would raise about £200,000 a year, which would raise some £3 million in capital.
UPDATE: Mr Hopkins declined to comment today.