Blaise Estate parking costs to rocket

THE price of parking at Blaise Estate is going up sharply just over a year after it ceased to be free.

It will rise from £1 to £1.50 for an hour and from £3 to £4.50 for up to five hours.

Council leaders say the money raised at Blaise, Ashton Court and Oldbury Court will go into maintaining the city’s parks and they promise to make sure people are not leaving their cars in nearby streets to avoid the charges.

Neighbours and opposition councillors say motorists already avoid the pay-and-display  by parking outside, causing traffic problems and nuisance for people living there.

Mayor Marvin Rees and council officers insist trials of the charges, which came into force in March 2022, had shown no significant impact on visitor numbers to the parks’ cafes and kiosks, so people were now more likely to walk or cycle instead of driving.

Conservative opposition group leader Cllr Mark Weston, who represents Henbury & Brentry, said in a statement to a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, April 4, that this was not true and that the fees had created “huge problems in nearby residential streets”.

He said the big price increases would “only make a bad situation worse”.

Labour cabinet member for public health and communities Cllr Ellie King said she was aware of the complaints and the situation would be monitored to check displacement parking was not taking place.

Disability and passenger transport campaigner David Redgewell told the meeting that green travel plans must be produced for heritage and tourist attractions and that access for disabled people needed to be improved.

He said Blaise Castle house was still not fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Mr Redgewell said: “We are asking that some of the money from the charges goes into disabled access and that discussions take place with disabled groups to make sure these parks are fully accessible.

“We need a city for everybody, not just for the few.”

Mayor Rees said conversations would take place with Bristol Disability Equality Commission and other groups so the council could understand and address the challenges for some people.

A council spokesman told the Voice that the planned price increases were going through a Traffic Regulation Order and no date had yet been set for their implementation. 

By Adam Postans,  Local Democracy Reporting Service