Protests over council car parking fee plans

Barleybank Car Park in Kirkintilloch
Barleybank Car Park in Kirkintilloch

Residents have hit out at plans by East Dunbartonshire Council to introduce parking charges for town centre car parks.One described the move as “the final nail in the coffin for retail in Kirkintilloch”.

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.

Resident Michelle Moore said she would shop outwith the area rather than pay.

While former council worker David Chisholm said: “This is the final nail in the coffin for retail in Kirkintilloch, along with the decision to take the lights away from the town’s busiest junction.”

Steven Moffat called for a multi-storey car park to be built on the site of Barleybank car park in the town centre.

He added: “Make the main street a pedestrian precinct and bring business to town.”

The council is holding public consultations this month to discuss the new plans.

Thomas Glen, Director of Development and Regeneration, said: “East Dunbartonshire Council took on responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions on April 2 after Strathclyde Police withdrew traffic wardens – and officers have noted a decrease in the amount of irresponsible and dangerous parking in local town centres as a result.

“However, the business case required by the Scottish Government for the Council taking on the enforcement role stipulated the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) scheme must be self-financing. The council has no choice in this matter.

“Parking enforcement fines will not be sufficient to offset costs and charging for some council-owned parking spaces will be required.

“Discussions with local firms highlighted a higher turnover of parking in the town centres would be good for business. There will remain a number of car parks where charging won’t apply.”