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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
City parking zones a step nearer
Cars parked in Canton, Cardiff
A survey found Cardiff was the UK's least car-friendly city
Controlled parking zones are likely to be brought into some of the busiest Cardiff suburbs despite opposition from some residents and businesses.

The council wants to put parking restrictions in areas including Roath, Cathays, Riverside, Gabalfa and Canton.

The plans would involve introducing pay and display restrictions as well as parking permits for residents.

The council introduced the proposals after warning that parking problems were expected to increase.

But protesters fear congestion will be worsened and small businesses will be forced to close.

Plaid Cymru councillor Mohammed Islam, who was behind an attempt to stop the parking zones at a council meeting, said: "This is going to cause so many problems for so many people and there is so much opposition to it."

He handed in a signature containing thousands of names, but said the plans looked likely to go ahead.

"People feel very strongly about the issue - there have been two demonstrations about it and at a public meeting about the issue held in Canton.

"It was so packed people had to stand outside.

"If it comes in, it's going to have an impact on everyone.

"Small businesses will suffer because people will have to pay and display just to run into shops to pick up their paper.

"And people who are working, who enjoy free on-road parking now will have to pay.

"It will get to the point where people will be driving to areas where there are no parking controls to park so it spreads the problem further."

But the council said it was necessary to introduce such measures to ease the flow of traffic and encourage people to use public transport.

In two recent surveys, Cardiff was said to be the least car-friendly place for motorists in the UK and driving in the city was worse than driving in London.

The problem of congested roads in the city has even prompted the council to consider introducing a congestion charge to encourage commuters to use public transport.

The results of a public consultation into the proposals are likely to be released next week.

The council introduced the proposals because it said many householders and businesses "experience difficulties finding convenient car parking spaces on the streets".

The council said Cardiff was undergoing one of the fastest rates of residential and business development in Europe, and "parking is expected to become more difficult for residents, businesses and visitors to the area".

The authority also said the new parking zones would have special provision for local people and businesses.

Liberal Democrat council leader Rodney Berman said consultation had shown that in every area a majority were behind the scheme.

"The reason people are in favour is because we are proposing to offer greater protection for residents in these areas and also for shoppers to access parking spaces near the shops," said Mr Berman.

"The council has recognised that we have a huge problem with significant abuse of short-stay parking spaces."

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