Will you pay to park in your town centre?

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PEOPLE are finally being asked their views on plans to bring in controversial parking charges in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and other parts of the district.

Almost a year after the plans were approved in principle by councillors, business leaders and residents are to have their say on the proposals.

The charges will form part of the council’s plans to bring in a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) scheme.

Under the scheme the council will employ its own traffic wardens, with costs partially covered by enforcement penalties. The business plan shows a shortfall of more than £166,000 a year which would need to be raised through parking charges in streets and council-owned car parks.

At a recent meeting of the development and infrastructure committee councillors finally gave the green-light for a public consultation into the plans.A questionnaire will be used to determine the views of local people, while a number of consultation events are to be held from February 22-March 22.

But Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillor Charles Kennedy wants council officers to look at alternatives to parking charges.

He said: “I have the view that parking charges in Kirkintilloch town centre would be a disaster and could kill off what’s left of the Cowgate.”

Fellow Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillor David Ritchie said he would oppose town centre charges, though not the consultation itself.

Councillor Billy Hendry, convener of the development and infrastructure committee, insisted no final decision had been made.

He said: “While agreement has been reached in principle, I want to emphasise to people that no decisions have been taken on any charging regimes.”

He said: “If the council administration does decide to go ahead with charges it will be a tax on shoppers and other individuals who currently drive into the town centre.

“At the same time it could sound the death knell for local businesses who are already struggling to stay afloat as it is.”