The Somerset Guardian, 9th February 2022

This week, I wanted to use my article to write about the proposal to introduce parking charges in Midsomer Norton and Radstock, something that will affect many constituents if it is implemented.
High streets are experiencing unprecedented decline and require support and investment to rejuvenate them. Even though the introduction of car parking charges may, at first, be nominal they will undoubtedly deter people from visiting these areas that not only benefit from the money spent there but also the overarching sense of community. I am concerned that this economic deterrent will be compounded by the administration that will be involved using apps or machines to buy tickets and the fines that could be incurred should innocent mistakes be made.

The new system will, of course, generate easy revenue for Bath and North East Somerset Council. However, it is highly likely that if people refrained from coming to these high streets it would place greater strain upon shops and businesses that are already struggling to pay their rates and compete with online companies. Moreover, it seems counterintuitive to have a drive to reinvigorate high streets but to make it prohibitive for people, who ought to be able to enjoy this regeneration, to visit.

The levelling up policy formulated by the Government seeks to redress the economic imbalances that the United Kingdom has been experiencing, something that is necessary to ensure that the whole country is on an even playing field. Applying unfair initiatives, as suggested by the Council, is a retrograde move that will not only give more money to Bath but will also have a detrimental effect on two historic high streets that need our help to prosper once more.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: