Carol Vorderman hits out at Bristol parking zones
Television presenter and maths boffin Carol Vorderman is backing the campaign against residents' parking zones in the city.
The former Countdown presenter told the Bristol Post that she believes the proposed restrictions could destroy the city's sense of freedom.
Ms Vorderman moved to the Bristol area two years ago and said she has such a passion for the city that she is "like a one-woman tourist office."
But having lived in places with residents' parking zones (RPZs), she believes it will double the stress levels of Bristolians.
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The proposals would limit parking in some areas to permit holders during office hours and possibly part of the evening.
Residents would pay for permits so they can park in the streets around their home, but this would not guarantee a space.
Ms Vorderman, who lives in Clapton-in-Gordano but spends a lot of time in the city, said: "I am very, very anti the parking restrictions they want to impose.
"When you live in London, or anywhere else, you can't get close to a shop. Clifton parking is nothing, but when you start putting restrictions in it adds stress to everybody's life.
"In London the issue of a car adds two hours to everyone's day, and there is the stress you face when you go and meet someone for lunch.
"It probably doubles people's stress and that is the way it should be here.
"Bristol is a very free city and I think if the parking restrictions are brought in it would be awful."
Thousands of residents living in suburbs on the outskirts of the city centre were sent questionnaires last June asking for their views about the proposed parking restrictions.
The results showed that people were generally against a scheme for parking zones but most support came from Kingsdown and a small area of Clifton, so Bristol City Council started work on a pilot scheme.
The council will finalise plans before asking residents to vote yes or no to the scheme.
Ms Vorderman said: "The man who was in charge of parking (Mark Bradshaw) said that it is not someone's right to park outside their home, but this is about living a life, it is not about a political human right. It is about making life as pleasant as you possibly can.
"Bristol is perfect because you can live within a 10-minute walk of the city centre and it is fantastic.
"I adore Bristol. I absolutely love it. I'm like a one-woman tourist office.
"Don't destroy it. Bristol has a gorgeous sense of freedom about it, which is unique to a city of this size, and I have lived in most cities."
Bernard Cooke, of campaign group Keep Parking Free, who have been fighting the proposed parking zones said: "I am delighted to hear that Carol shares a great many of our views and concerns and it backs up what we have heard from lots of other people around the country of the experience of other cities.
"Although RPZs seem like a solution they are not, and they make the situation worse."
Supporters of the proposed scheme set up a Yes to RPZ campaign group in response to the "no" campaign.
Stephen Perry, who set up the group, said: "The pilot zones are very close to the inner city and the controlled parking zones in the city centre itself, so our parking is much more of a problem than in many other areas with people using our area as a car park for business and social reasons.
"We argue that our problems are much exacerbated by that proximity and it means that people who should have a freedom to park wherever they want to are simply harming others."
Councillor Jon Rogers, executive member for transport and sustainability, said: "We are gratified that Carol Vorderman is so positive about Bristol. I agree that it is very special here.
"The freedom that Carol and so many others value so highly, is already achieved by striking a balance which encourages respect and deters obstructive or inconsiderate parking.
"In some areas residents may argue that the situation is out of balance, and that the free parking is affecting their freedom to enjoy their own neighbourhood.
"This is why we are consulting with residents most seriously affected to design a proposal.
"But it is their ultimate decision whether or not we proceed."