By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
That’s despite a survey carried out by Bristol City Council two years ago which showed the vast majority of people didn’t want to have to pay for the right to park.
Cotham, St Pauls, Redcliffe, Easton and St Philips could all see RPZs introduced, as well as the area around Southmead Hospital.
After a lengthy consultation period and fierce arguments on both sides, the council introduced the RPZ pilot to Kingsdown just after Christmas.
Residents now have to pay £30 a year to park one car, £110 for two and £310 for three.
The £589,000 scheme was brought in with the narrowest margin of support.
Public consultation last January showed 203 of those who responded were in support and 200 were against.
This didn’t appear to match up with the number of objections the council received to the plan during statutory consultation – 1,037 were against and just 42 in support.
The council claimed some of the opposition submissions were fraudulent, while the yes to RPZ campaign argued many of the objectors did not actually live in Kingsdown.
Either way, public opinion appears to have been transformed – locally at least.
In May the council wrote to everyone living within the scheme.
Of the 216 responses, 146 were in support, 60 asked for minor changes and just 10 were against.
The council’s figures on how many homes are included in the scheme have varied wildly from 1,500 to the current estimate of 2,800 and 300 business.
Either way the 216 response only represent a small proportion of the homes included in the zones.
Ward councillors also carried out a similar survey in neighbouring Cabot ward before and after the scheme was introduced, with similar results.
Only 56 per cent of people living in the area supported the zone before it was introduced, but this went up to 79 per cent after.
No to RPZ campaigners had warned that one consequence of introducing a zone in one area was that it would just push the problem into neighbouring roads, forcing residents to adopt a zone themselves.
A report to councillors discussed at a transport scrutiny meeting yesterday didn’t address this issue though.
Instead, service director for transport Peter Mann recommended discussions should be held with Neighbourhood Partnerships to look at other potential zones.
The last time the council asked whether Bristol wanted RPZs, most of the city was firmly against.
As a result, pilots were only pursued in two areas – Cliftonwood and Kingsdown.
The Cliftonwood pilot fell apart due to a public backlash against the idea.
The Kingsdown zones operate from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Each household is entitled to 100 visitors’ permits per year, the first 50 will be free and rest will cost £1 each.
Residents in Kingsdown have requested a number of changes to the scheme, which will be consulted on before they are introduced.
These include increasing pay and display stays from two hours to three, permits for landlords who live outside the zones but have properties within it and a new system for qualifying for business permits.
Speaking to councillors at a transport scrutiny meeting yesterday, Mr Mann said the council had “learned lessons” about how to handles such issues during the last 18 months.
He said: “The approach we’re taking now is to work closely with communities.
“There are still some people who think it’s not the right thing to do but generally reaction has been positive.”
Mr Mann stressed the council only had resources to look into introducing the zones in areas like Cotham and Easton, and that further work was not being carried out for a zone in Clifton.