Campaigners force meter u-turn

Dorset Echo

DORSET County Council has agreed to re-think its on-street parking policy in West Dorset.

Such was the strength of the opposition put forward by Bridport residents that councillors at Tuesday's environment overview committee agreed to go away and think again.

The campaign has seen a petition nearing 6,000 names against the introduction of parking meters and the start of an evidence-gathering parking survey on use of the free one-hour street parking.

West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin also wrote backing Bridport's opposition.

Councillor Kayes, along with town councillors Dave Rickard and Sarah Williams, argued at the committee that a 'one-size fits all policy' wouldn't work in Bridport.

Now members of Dorset County Council have called for a county-wide review instead of putting forward a proposal to consult on schemes in Bridport and Lyme Regis.

Coun Kayes said: "It's good news that it's going to be re-considered. Every single councillor on the committee supported the idea of re-drawing the policy.

"The overall policy is clearly out of date because it's based on research that was done in the noughties. There is more recent research suggesting it is damaging to towns."

She said 50 per cent of the parking revenue in Dorchester came from fines so clearly meters were also about boosting revenue.

Miles Butler, county council director of environment, told members of the committee there was evidence in Dorchester and Swanage to show pay and display parking could have a positive impact on the local economy. He said meters ensured a greater turnover of visitors and prevented people driving around looking for free spaces.