Councillors have raised concerns that new residents parking zones are pushing the problem to neighbouring areas
By John Wimperis - Local Democracy Reporter
19th Sep 2023 | Local News
New residents parking zones in Bath are pushing parking problems into neighbouring areas, councillors have warned.
Jess David, who represents the Moorlands ward on Bath and North East Somerset Council, said that she was getting daily phone calls about the huge number of parked cars in the area. The Oldfield Park and Westmoreland area residents parking zone (RPZ) launched on the edge of her ward at the end of August.
The zones are meant to stop "park and stride" — where people coming to the city leave their cars in residential streets rather than car parks — but the zones may just be moving the problem to other areas.
Ms David told a meeting of the council's climate emergency and sustainability policy development and scrutiny panel on 14 September: "My ward has seen a lot of overspill from the Oldfield RPZ and that's quite a painful process for residents as a new problem has been created that wasn't there before. There's a huge amount of parked cars and, despite a few helpful interventions where we put some double yellows in to increase visibility, there are significant problems and I'm getting emails and phone calls every day about it."
Lambridge councillor Saskia Heijltjes said that there had also been "boundary issues" in her ward, which is located at the edge of the Walcot, Snow Hill, and Claremont Road RPZ that launched at the end of July. She said: "If you put in an RPZ, I'm completely for it, but what happens to the next area?"
But June Player, who represents Westmoreland which is covered by the new RPZ, said that the scheme had been "working divinely." She added: "However, we have not yet got the universities all back and that's only when you can realise how it's going."
Ms David asked if the council was looking at how its policies around the zones might need to be different in outer Bath.
Joel Hirst, the council's cabinet project lead for highways, said the council could look at the policy in outer Bath. He said: "I think the ambition was that the RPZs will grow out and that we were going to fill in some of the gaps that have been created and deal with some of the knock-on impact of behaviour change of people just trying to sneak out the edge of the zone."
But he warned that the level of vacancies within the council's parking enforcement team — which he said he was not sure of but believed to be about a third — was an "ongoing challenge" with expanding the area covered by the zones. He said: "The worst scenario is that a resident pays for the parking and someone is breaching that and not getting enforced."