Perthshire Advertiser

Parking fees to return... and they will be pricier


Perth and Kinross Council is reintroduc­ing parking charges from August 1.

The local authority suspended charges during the coronaviru­s lockdown “in order to help key workers” and also to reduce the need for people to handle cash.

With restrictio­ns lifting and the city centre becoming busier, payment for parking will be brought back from the beginning of next month.

And charges, in line with the council’s budget decision in March, will be increased by 10 per cent from 2019-20 levels.

More contactles­s options will be available to help prevent the spread of coronaviru­s.

But the decision has been criticised in some quarters as local shops struggle to make up for over three months of inactivity.

Perth and Kinross Council’s chief executive, Karen Reid, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep people safe while supporting the local economy.

“People in Perth and Kinross want safe and well-maintained parking facilities, and our local businesses are hoping for high footfall as they reopen.

“Reintroduc­ing parking charges will encourage a healthy turnover of spaces, while our parking attendants will help to make sure people are parking considerat­ely.

“Our parking attendants have been retasked over recent months and I would like to personally thank them for the fantastic work they have done delivering food and prescripti­ons to our citizens.”

The council is introducin­g contactles­s payment for parking at Thimblerow car park when it reintroduc­es the charges.

A spokespers­on said: “Reintroduc­ing charges will encourage the turnover of parking spaces and therefore visitors to shops, cafes and restaurant­s when they reopen.

“It will also help us to keep pavements and streets safer for physical distancing between increased numbers of pedestrian­s and cyclists, as government advice remains to use active travel where possible.”

Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said he felt traders would be against the proposal.

And he pointed the finger at the Tory administra­tion at Perth and Kinross Council for the decision, saying the SNP group is against the price rise.

He said: “Whilst it is understand­able that parking restrictio­ns will have to be brought back in as our town centres get busier again, it is a really poor show for the Conservati­ve administra­tion to press ahead with this planned rise in parking costs.

“We are facing an extremely uncertain future in terms of the number of job losses we are hearing about because of the downturn in trading caused by COVID-19.

“We need local authoritie­s to incentivis­e people shopping locally, and I am certain that the majority of town and city centre traders will not be behind the proposal to raise parking costs further at this uncertain time.”

Councillor Angus Forbes, chair of the environmen­t and infrastruc­ture committee, said the decision to start charging again had been made by officers.

He said: “If Pete Wishart had bothered to do his homework he would know that, at the moment, the council is being run by the officers under emergency powers. Elected members were not involved in the decision to start charging again.

“However, as the SNP Edinburgh government is not giving local councils the money they need to face the challenges of the pandemic, we will likely need to look again at our budget in the autumn.

“At a recent Zoom meeting open to all local businesses, it was clear from the city centre traders that they supported parking charges as this creates turnover of cars and allows more people to park in the centre.”

 ??  ?? Charge Car parking charges are set to be re-introduced next month across Perth and Kinross
Charge Car parking charges are set to be re-introduced next month across Perth and Kinross

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