PLANS to bring in parking charges have been backed by traders in Bearsden and Milngavie.
Bearsden Cross Business Association say the proposal, when implemented, will free up vital parking for shoppers.
Association member Paul Smith, who runs Paul Smith Menswear in New Kirk Road said the group felt it needed to respond to negative comments in recent articles in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald.
Mr Smith said: “We feel it puts across a very negative side of what is a positive thing. Councillor Ian Mackay’s comments on the front page a couple of weeks ago were just political scaremongering. These charges have not just been introduced without consultation. The association has had two meetings with council representatives and all the traders in the cross are broadly in favour of bringing in these charges to free up spaces for people wanting to shop.”
He said that someone will still be able to park for two hours free of charge on weekdays before having to pay £1, which will give people another three hours parking.
The retailer said: “In effect this is five hours parking for £1. You will not get anything as cheap as this in Glasgow or anywhere else I know.”
The decision to introduce the charges across East Dunbartonshire was agreed at a full council meeting recently and followed plans to hand over control of parking from the police to local authorities.
However under the new regime the council will need to employ extra staff and resources which will mean a shortfall of more than £166,000.
SNP Group Leader Councillor Mackay had criticised the scheme as ‘one size fits all’ and added that the ruling coalition had forced through the proposal throughout the district not taking into account local circumstances.
But Mr Smith said: “I’ve been here almost 30 years and part of the problem is that there are just not enough spaces for staff working in Bearsden Cross and customers visiting the area. Something needs to be done and the Association feel that the council has come up with the perfect decision.”
Rona Miller from Art Forum in Milngavie said she welcomed charging, as long as it was not not too expensive and penalised regular customers to Milngavie.
She said: “The charge needs to be enough to open up parking in the village but not too high to put customers off.
“I think one way of achieving this is to have free parking on weekdays for at three or probably four hours. This would allow people plenty of time in Milngavie, but stop using the area to park their cars here for eight hours and going into Glasgow.”
PAY TO PARK . . . Bearsden Cross Business Association is in favour of pay parking at the cross to free up spaces.