A backlash from traders and politicians has ended proposals to introduce charges in car parks in Bath & North East Somerset that may have generated £300,000 a year.
The authority’s U-turn, which Councillor Roger Symonds, of the ruling Liberal Democrats, said demonstrated its ability to listen, came about after widespread opposition during consultation over budget plans.
As a result, parking will continue to be free in Batheaston, Chew Magna, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Peasedown St John, Radstock, Saltford, Timsbury, and Wellow.
The council is also reviewing the situation in Larkhall, where its charging plans unleashed a volley of criticism from shopkeepers and local councillors, and a site in South View Road in East Twerton, and it is likely that the car parks there will also remain free. Plans for charges in Royal Victoria Park are not affected.
Mr Symonds, the cabinet member for transport, said: “We are a listening council and the messages that the cabinet heard about abolishing free parking in many car parks were very clear.”
Larkhall councillor Dave Laming said he had persuaded Mr Symonds of the damage parking charges would do to local traders, as the city’s chamber of commerce warned that public-sector cuts could damage the local economy.
“We need to work together to keep shops going,” said the independent.
Mike Langbridge, of DIY store Langbridges, welcomed the change. He said: “Common sense has kicked in at last so that this doesn’t put another barrier in our way.”