SNP leader critical of new charges

THE SNP group leader has slammed East Dunbartonshire Council’s controversial plans to introduce new parking charges in Milngavie and Bearsden.

The Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) scheme across East Dunbartonshire wa agreed at last week’s full council meeting after the plans were approved a year ago in principle by councillors and business leaders. Residents then took part in a consultation on the proposals.

Under the scheme the council will employ its own traffic wardens, with costs partially covered by enforcement penalties. However, 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.

SNP group leader, Ian Mackay, has hit out at the “one size fits all” parking charge scheme being introduced throughout the district. He says that the ruling coalition administration has forced through the proposal to introduce charges for parking anywhere for more than two hours, but not enough consideration has been taken over local circumstances.

The Bearsden North Councillor said: “This proposal has not been thought through and could cause mayhem in some areas where it is not needed, or congestion in other areas with people trying to use supermarket car parks which are free for up to three hours.

“The SNP group were in favour of localised plans, which take into account the varying factors which exist from town to town.

“This blanket business case the administration intend to pursue will actually generate more than twice the amount of revenue they need and we think this is entirely unacceptable.

“As usual, the administration have gone for the easy option – slam the motorist wherever they are and never mind the consequences.”

Council Leader, Rhondda Geekie, said: “To be able to operate our own parking wardens to tackle indiscriminate and illegal parking in East Dunbartonshire we are required to have a financially viable and sustainable business case and have had to look at introducing some kind of parking charge scheme.

“Following consultation with the community and local businesses we are moving forward with our business case to the Scottish Government based on a minimal charging scale.

“Officers will draft the business case based on a charging regime which allows free parking at weekends and free parking for two hours at all other times, followed by a £1 charge for two to three hours and £5 for four hours.

“I believe this will help to protect the viability of our town centres while deterring commuters from taking up car parking spaces while they take the train to work elsewhere.

“We must act now and I believe this latest step will also have the desired effect of making the roads around our schools and train stations safer by tackling bad parking.

“Councillors will have the opportunity to review the business case before it is presented to the Scottish Government.”