A decision to increase fees in council-run car parks in East Dunbartonshire have sparked an angry reaction from residents and local business.
The Tory/LibDem council administration is set to scrap free parking for the first two hours and on a Saturday..
From June 18 this year, motorists will be charged £1 for up to two hours, £2 for two to three hours, £3 for three to four hours and £5 for more than four hours.
The charges will apply Mon-Sat from 9am-5.30pm.
People responded with fury on the council’s Facebook site, accusing the local authority of “greedy opportusim” and of driving away business from the town centre.
Kate McHugh posted: “Short-sighted and poor decision making. How much will it cost to change all the signs and machines even?
“Budgets are tight everywhere but this appears as nothing more than greedy opportunism.
“At very least, a shorter free period should be allowed which, as others have said, will help turnover whilst still helping support local businesses.
“Paying £1 when you have a quick stop to make encourages no-one and will drive business away from town centres”.
While Des Hughes posted: “So more boarded up shops and charity shops on the way then?”
Blue badge holders will remain exempt from charges.
Fees were introduced at five local EDC car parks in July 2016 – Roman Road (Bearsden); Douglas Street, Mugdock Road, Stewart Street and Woodburn (Milngavie).
According to a council spokesperson, the average daily turnover of spaces in charge-levying car parks has increased as a result, “providing more parking for potential customers and visitors”.
He added: “Drivers will no longer have to enter their vehicle registration details when obtaining a ticket, addressing feedback from people who have experienced issues.”
Any additional funds raised will be used for roads and transportation, he said.
The council recently approved a Revenue Budget for 2018/19 which included required savings of £13.6 million (a shortfall of £15.8m prior to the Council Tax rise).
The council’s joint leaders, Councillor Vaughan Moody (LibDem) and Andrew Polson (Tory) said the revised charges will help to support the trend of “significant improvements in turnover of spaces” and officers will monitor the new system.
In November last year, the council approved the principle of charging at Bearsden Community Hub car park and Kenmure Drive car park inBishopbriggs.
However, a council spokesperson said the proposal still had to go through a legal process.