Taunton to get extra short-term parking

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More short-term parking is being created in a Somerset town centre in an effort to boost revenue to the council.

Conservative-led Taunton Dean Borough Council said it had to come up with the plans after expecting to lose £600,000 on parking for 2011-12.

Leaders now plan to boost revenue with more expensive short-term parking.

However, the opposition Liberal Democrats said they feared the changes could price people out of shopping in Taunton and damage local trade.

The council blamed the fall in revenue on the economic downturn, along with the opening of the second park and ride east of Taunton.

Mark Edwards, the executive councillor for transport, said the extra shopper spaces would be created by discouraging commuters parking in the town centre and would also help reduce congestion.

"The fact that we are down on our parking revenue is a success as it shows our strategy is right by keeping commuter cars out of the town, which is freeing things up," said Mr Edwards.

'Feeling the pinch'

He said the council's plans also take into account the closure of Castle Green car park, which is being turned into a public square and green space.

Ross Henley, Lib Dem leader at the council, said: "We have got some concerns because a lot of traders are feeling the pinch and the way they are proposing the closure is causing concern to shoppers and traders.

"We also have to be careful not to price people out from coming to Taunton."

Blue badge holders will be restricted to three hours' free parking but more marked bays will be provided for them and motorcyclists.

Charges across all car parks may be brought in on Sundays.

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