Driving ahead with parking fees

Community wardens
Community wardens

The imminent introduction of town centre parking charges in East Dunbartonshire is expected to pay for a new scheme within three years.

The council’s Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) programme is now moving into its next phase, with the first car parking charges to be introduced next April.

It follows the introduction of community wardens tasked with issuing parking tickets earlier this year.

The majority of car parks - around 28 - will remain free at all times, but charges are being proposed in 11 car parks after two hours.

One of the conditions laid down by the Scottish Government when the DPE scheme was given the green light was that it was self-financing.

The amount raised from parking tickets alone will not pay for the scheme - hence the introduction of parking charges.

Work will be carried out by the council to upgrade many of the affected car parks - which have been reviewed and audited by Police Scotland.

The first phase of proposed on-street restrictions are designed to address existing parking issues and also where inconsiderate parking may increase due to displacement from chargeable car parks.

The team will monitor the parking situation and new restrictions will be brought forward as and when required.

It is proposed to issue a parking permit to residents residing in town centre properties with no allocated parking. The team will be in contact with the residents to discuss the proposals.

Councillor Alan Moir, the council’s convener of development and regeneration, said that the introduction of DPE has been a “great success” and had reduced inconsiderate and dangerous parking - with the number of tickets issued falling from 180 in the first week of April, to an average of just 73.

He added: “The council felt - and this was backed up by consultation involving the public - that there should be parking enforcement after traffic wardens were withdrawn by the police.

“However, that enforcement comes at a price. It was a pre-requisite of permission being granted by the Scottish Government that the scheme become self-financing.

“While some of the costs will be covered by fines issued, it was always anticipated that charges would be required to be applied in certain car parks in order to bridge the shortfall. “I would emphasise again that the first two hours parking will be free - with a sliding scale of charges thereafter, from £1 to £5.

“As well as helping to pay for enforcement it will encourage turnover of traffic - making it easier for shoppers and patrons to park in our town centres.”