Unison anger over parking charges

Kirkintilloch's Barleybank Car Park
Kirkintilloch's Barleybank Car Park

Council workers have expressed their opposition to the introduction of parking charges in town centres across East Dunbartonshire.

Members of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Unison branch organised a petition against the charges in advance of the closing date for objections on January 18.

They believe the charges will have an adverse impact on the future of the town centres and will “significantly impact on the local workforce, in particular the council workers based in William Patrick Library and those employed in neighbouring businesses”.

They also think the scheme will impact on local householders who have more than one car, since only one parking permit will be issues per household, and will result in congestion in residential streets near the town centre.

As well as the petition, which has attracted nearly 200 signatures, Unison members have visited local businesses, campaigned through social media and designed posters.

A Unison spokesperson said: “Local workers will be faced with the prospect of paying in excess of £100 per month in order to park near their work.

“All the local businesses, that we have been spoken to, are firmly opposed to the introduction of the charges - citing the financial impact that it will have on their workforce as of concern.

“It was also noted that the parking machines were installed in the car parks prior to the consultation period commencing.

“This leads many to suspect all the objections will be ignored and that the consultation is merely a tick the box exercise.”

Thomas Glen, the council’s Director of Development and Regeneration, said: “The council began enforcing parking restrictions in April 2014 - following consultation with the public - after the withdrawal of traffic wardens by the police.

“There has been an ongoing cost to the council - partly covered by fines.

“However, that is not sustainable and goes against the requirement of the Scottish Government to ensure the scheme becomes self-financing.

“As well as helping to fund enforcement, charges will create car park turnover - bringing in more customers and reducing the number of commuters parking all day.

“Parking will be free for the first two hours in the seven council parks - totalling 569 spaces - where charging is proposed to be introduced. It will also be free in the evenings and at weekends.

“Parking in the other 17 car parks - totalling 691 spaces, not including on-street capacity - in the same council areas will be free of charge.

“Work continues on the parking permit scheme for residents and the council is preparing an Employee Travel Plan to support and encourage a change in travel behaviour.

“There are areas of long-term parking within each town centre for business and residential use. The team will continue to monitor the situation and provide support.”

The charges are planned for car parks at Kirkintilloch’s William Patrick Library and Barleybank, Bearsden’s Roman Road, and Milngavie’s Douglas Street, Mugdock Road, Stewart Street and Woodburn Way.