Consultation on Parking Charges Promised

COUNCIL leader Rhondda Geekie has promised no decision will be made on controversial parking charges until traders and residents have been fully consulted.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s development and infrastructure committee has agreed in principle to introduce parking charges for around 800 council-owned spaces - potentially raising more than £2million per year.

Shop owners and business leaders have already slammed the plans.

Now worried councillors have warned that the prospective charges could be the final straw for town centres already reeling from the worst recession in living memory.

Independent councillors Jack Young and Charles Kennedy have pledged to oppose any charges.

Councillor Kennedy said: “We will not be voting for anything that will damage the fragile economy of Cowgate and Townhead. You can also include Bishopbriggs as well. I had no difficulty with them carrying out an investigation, but the principle is completely unacceptable.”

Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillor David Ritchie has written to the council leader asking for more details about the plans.

He said: “I remain strongly concerned that these proposals could potentially damage the trade of many of the businesses within the town centre who are already struggling to survive in this current economic climate.”

But Councillor Geekie said: “I totally agree with Councillor Ritchie and that’s why I have said we would not want to put in place something which damages traders and town centres.

“Absolutely no decisions have been made yet and there will be consultation with the public and traders before anything is put in place.”