Outrage over car parking charges

Pressure is mounting on East Dunbartonshire Council chiefs to scrap plans to charge motorists at town centre car parks.

Protestors say Kirkintilloch will turn into a ghost town if the charges are introduced next April.

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.

But there was heavy criticism of the new plans on the Herald’s Facebook site.

Many residents described it as “the final nail in the coffin” for the town centre, claiming it will drive people out of the area.

Others confirmed they would head out of town to shop rather than pay the parking charges.

Susan Hannah said: “I have said in the past that if they introduce these charges I will head to Cumbernauld and Bishopbriggs.”

Simon McIlvenna added: “Sadly we are now headed towards a ghost town.”

While Darren Hugh McNeish said: “Parking charges?...that’s a joke!

“There won’t be anyone paying any charges...most people will head to Bishopbriggs, Parkhead Forge and Cumbernauld!”

Meanwhile, Barbara McIntosh called for a petition to be set up against the proposed charges.

And Carrie Milligan said: “Our elected officials are out of touch. This is the final nail in the coffin for an already dying main street.”

Another said: “When will councils realise parking charges are killing business on the high street?”

The planned charges are the latest phase of the council’s Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) programme, after the introduction of community wardens tasked with issuing parking tickets this year.

The majority of car parks across East Dunbartonshire – around 28 – will remain free at all times, but charges are being proposed in 11 car parks.

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

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

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