Residents parking could turn Downs' roads into car park

Cars parked on Bristol Downs
Image caption A Downs Committee traffic subgroup is due to report its concerns on 22 April

The Downs in Bristol could become a "commuter car park" if plans to widen the residents' parking scheme go ahead, it has been claimed.

Bristol's mayor announced last week that he wants to set up another 20 resident parking zones in the city.

Robert Westlake, Downs Ranger, said: "My concern is that we will get the backwash of the commuter parking as these new schemes come in."

The city council said initial talks had been held about preventing the issue.

Residents' parking zones have already been set up in the Cotham, Redcliffe and Kingsdown areas of the city and a consultation is running for Easton and St Phillips.

Urgent problem

A subgroup set up by the Downs Committee is due to report back its concerns with recommendations on 22 April.

The subgroup heard concerns from the Friends of the Downs that the roads crossing the green space will increasingly be used by commuters parking on the unrestricted and free roads.

Mr Westlake said he fears the Downs' roads would "be turned into car parks for commuters".

"We're already seeing an impact. We observe cars that are parked all day now, or people that park and then take out their bicycle and ride off across the Downs," he added.

"The biggest concern, and this was highlighted by the Friends group, is that it restricts access for other people that are coming to visit the Downs.

"We can only see this getting worse, not better."

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: "We will be consulting with the Downs Committee about our proposals in due course.

"Initial discussions about the scope for introducing measures to prevent commuters from parking on The Downs have already taken place."

Mayor George Ferguson previously said the subject of parking had become an urgent problem for some residents.

If approved, the additional areas will be introduced from September 2014.

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