New parking charges in South Gloucestershire were included in the previous Conservative administration budget, we can now confirm.
The Cabinet Member for Communities and Local Place, Leigh Ingham (pictured below), said she wanted residents to be under no illusion about where the charges had come from.
It comes after the release of Cabinet papers on Wednesday September 27th 2023, which mention a consultation on parking fees.
Councillor Ingham pointed to a line in the February 2023 budget on page 119, referring to a “review of income generating opportunities” totalling £7m from 2024/25 to 2027/28.
The Conservatives didn’t make it clear during the last budget setting process that this £7m income largely referred to introducing parking charges across South Gloucestershire.
It was only after the Conservatives lost power in May’s election and the Liberal Democrat/Labour Partnership took office that they learnt from officers the £7m income was proposed to include introducing parking fees.
South Gloucestershire Council faces a challenging financial backdrop, having to make over £50m of cuts over five years.
A big reason for this is that central government funding to South Gloucestershire has fallen by more than 30 percent over the last seven years. Nationally, the Conservatives have been in power for all of this period.
“I don’t want to residents to be misled about why these changes are happening,” Councillor Ingham said.
“However, if we have to bring these Conservative parking charges in, we want to do it as fairly as possible, which is why we’ll be talking to residents and listening to their views on the right way forward.”
Cllr Jayne Stansfield, Liberal Democrat Lead Member for Communities and Local Place, said: “We want to listen to the views of local residents and businesses as to how we can best implement the Conservative charges, so that they don’t impact badly on our town centres. Times are very hard for everyone.”