Whilst Bath is over five miles from Freshford it is a place where many locals work and prefer to shop. Whilst I enjoy the occasional shopping trip to Bath I usually shop a little nearer in Trowbridge. I also often cycle to shop, so a congestion charge is not all that relevant to me.
I am not really sure where the traffic in Bath is going and whether it can avoid the central area? There must be vehicles that need to head for Bristol who are travelling from North of the river Avon who can't head up the A46. It does seem unfair to penalise these drivers. Are all the other drivers going shopping? As Freshford is located South of the Avon I usually head for Sainsbury's Homebase car park via the A36 and lower Bristol Road and walk. I can always manage to find something to buy in Homebase or Sainsburys, as payment for my free parking -which is only fair. If I did have to pay a congestion fee or car park fee I would probably arrange for Home Delivery instead.
The present government is hell bent on building more, and more, houses in this area without considering the infrastructure. So there will be even more demand on Bath as a shopping centre, or perhaps not.
Napoleon's observation that we are a nation of shopkeepers, whilst perhaps true in his time but altered by the rise of the supermarket in the Twentieth century - which swallowed up the small shops, still has some relevance today. But now we are a nation of shoppers!
However, whilst this might be good for Bath and Cribb's Causeway and Cabots Circus and other out of town shopping centres, shopping does rely on people having money to spend. Shopping requires money. This money should come from earnings and a return from investments. But is it coming from those sources? No! shoppers' money is coming from those who have cashed in some of the value of the rise in their property value (which could fall and has fallen!) and ignorant youngsters who pay through the nose to use their credit cards, as if there to be no tomorrow.
There will not be so many people who are ready to go shopping in future. These shopping cities and out of town shopping centres are probably going to become white elephants in future, probably in the near future.
An increase of thirty per cent in home energy bills doesn't help! Fuel whether for the home or the road is never, never going to get cheaper, is it? Unless the government reduces the fuel tax (and pigs can fly!). So travelling by car will get more and more, and more expensive. It will take several hundred million years to recreate the conditions for fossil fuel to be created again, and then by and by we will repopulate the world and use up nearly all of that fossil fuel in a little under two hundred years once again.
I won't be paying any congestion charge and I don't expect many others will be doing so either. I don't even see any need for a congestion charge.