More delays for council parking charge scheme

Charges will be introduced at Barleybank Car Park
Charges will be introduced at Barleybank Car Park

Council chiefs are still not able to confirm when controversial parking charges will be introduced - over a year after the initial launch date.

The planned town centre charges are part of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) programme - with responsibility for managing parking transferring from the police to the council.

DPE started in April 2014 with the introduction of community wardens tasked with issuing parking tickets this year.

But it was announced that money raised from parking tickets alone would not be enough to make the scheme self-financing - one of the key conditions laid down by the Scottish Government.

At that point parking charges were to be introduced in April 2015 to fill the funding ‘black hole’.

But that date came and went, with the council saying they would be introduced “during the summer”.

Again the charges failed to materialise, with April 2016 becoming the new suggested start date.

But the charges have STILL not been introduced, with the cash-strapped council continuing to fund the shortfall.

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration, insisted that the charges - which have proved unpopular with many local residents and businesses - will come into force this year.

He explained: “The introduction of charging is subject to the promotion of a Traffic Regulation Order which is underway.

“This is a formal legal process with a number of statutory timescales.

“We are hopeful that the process will be concluded within the next month or so.

“Parking will be free for the first two hours in the seven council parks 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 in the same council areas will be free of charge.

“East Dunbartonshire Council began enforcing parking restrictions in April 2014, with the Scottish Government requiring that the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement scheme become self-financing.

“The approved business case made it clear that fines would not be enough to cover costs and - as a result - charging for some council-owned parking spaces would be needed.

“Charging is also seen as an important means of encouraging better use of car parking space by creating turnover in town centre car parks.”

The charges will be introduced in Kirkintilloch’s Barleybank and William Patrick Library car parks, Milngavie’s Douglas Street, Mugdock Road, Stewart Street (North) and Woodburn Way car parks and in Bearsden’s Roman Road car park.

Residents living in domestic properties with no allocated parking within town centres who are considered to be detrimentally affected by the introduction of charging will be eligible to apply for parking permits - limited to one per property and there will be a charge to cover administrative costs.