Mendip District Council has just undertaken a very speedy consultation on their new plans for parking across the district. Some of their proposed changes are really concerning for towns like ours particularly if they go ahead with charging for parking on Sunday. Many events such as the Independent Market, car-boot sales and the Cheese and Grain rely on the market yard carpark being free on Sunday. People who come to events see the town on show and often come back to explore the town further another time. We have small independent businesses that rely on visitor foot fall in town, they can’t have car parks attached to their businesses like supermarkets. The District Council collects business rates and councils have always supported businesses to flourish with things like car parks. Mendip’s proposed parking plan seems to be more concerned to make maximum income for Mendip rather than support the development of towns as a community and keep a lively well used town centre.
I know that Government austerity measures are squeezing the funding of councils like Mendip but this sort of fund raising just seems crazy and destined to damage businesses and town centres across the district. Frome Town Council has responded to the new strategy that Mendip has proposed – this can be found on the Town Council website – this was discussed last night at the Town Matters meeting. Also on the agenda at the meeting was the problem of residential parking along some streets where things are so crowded that cars cannot pass each other easily. Solutions such as more yellow lines simply move the problem to another road. The Town Council will be holding an open meeting in May to explore solutions. If you have ideas or examples from other towns be sure to come along.