A row has broken out between local businesses and the council over free parking for council staff in Sainsbury’s car park.
Shopkeepers and firms were told recently by East Dunbartonshire Council they would not be entitled to buy cheap parking permits being introduced to help residents avoid costly parking charges.
The council told the Herald a couple of weeks ago that its employees would not be given permits.
But in an email to the Herald, Elaine MacKenzie said: “Clearly they don’t need them as they already can park all day with no charge!
“I have been informed by Sainsbury’s head office and council official Thomas Glen that this is a long-standing agreement.
“It begs the question - why are Sainsbury’s giving the council special treatment? I am not against anyone using the car parking space. It is clearly not in demand by Sainsbury’s customers. However, the council’s employees are not the only people who need to be able to park their cars during the working day.”
Owner of Gemini gift and card shop Jacqui Fairbairn said: “I think this is shocking. Why are Sainsbury’s doing this?” Another shopkeeper in Cowgate said this was “unfair.”
Under new regulations, town centre residents can either buy street permits or pay £5-a-day to park in key Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs car parks.
The new permit scheme will be open to those who live in the town centre but don’t have allocated parking. But firms cannot apply for permits in the first phase.
The new parking charges for four car parks in Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch start in the summer, and the permit zones are likely to be on streets rather than car parks. Ann Davie, the council’s director of customer services said: “The council is a key employer in East Dunbartonshire with over 4000 employees and many of our premises are located in and around town centres where parking is at a premium.
“As a responsible employer, we make reasonable provision for employee parking. Parking around council HQ at Southbank Marina in Kirkintilloch is extremely limited.
“We are very grateful to our neighbours Sainsbury’s who have kindly agreed to allow council employees to park in a section at the lower end of their car park.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told the Herald: “From Monday to Friday council staff are permitted to park in a designated area of the store’s car park to help ease congestion in the local area.”