East Dunbartonshire Council is holding a round of public consultations this month to discuss parking charges for town centre car parks.
A number of parking sites across the authority will be affected by the next phase of the councils’ Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) scheme.
According to the proposals, motorists will be able to use public car parks for free for two hours, after which ‘sliding scale’ fees will apply.
The council says the new policy — scheduled to come into force in April 2015 — will promote a greater turnover of traffic and public safety.
Councillor Alan Moir, convener of development and regeneration, said:“DPE is a matter of public safety, not generating revenue.
“We were required by the Scottish Government to show the DPE scheme will become self-financing. That was a prerequisite.
“The business case made it clear that parking enforcement fines will not be sufficient to offset costs and therefore charging for some council-owned spaces is required.
“The decision to introduce DPE was agreed by councillors across the political spectrum, with support from the public during consultation last year.”
The council also said there will be some car parks where charging will not apply.
However, the plans have already caused a stir with some local traders who fear the charges could stifle business.
Martin Hughes, a partner at Gallacher & Co. solicitors, based in Cowgate, Kirkintilloch, said: “I fail to see how bringing in parking charges will encourage local trade when it will cost business like ours thousands each year.
“There are hundreds who work in the town centre who need to park somewhere for around eight hours a day. They can’t nip out every two hours to move their car and avoid a fee.”
The council will hold information sessions starting this Sunday, from noon-4pm at the Kirkintilloch Canal Festival.
On Tuesday, August 26, officials will be at the Fraser Centre, Milngavie, from 3pm-7pm, and at Bishopbriggs Library from 4pm-8pm on Thursday, August 28.
The final consultation takes place on Saturday, August 30, at Bearsden Burgh Hall, from noon-4pm.