Uk news Free parking continues in South Lanarkshire Council car parks - at least for now MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Annual income from parking charges is worth around £1.78 million to the council.
Breaking News ! Parking in South Lanarkshire Council car parks is set to remain free until at least November. Councillors yesterday (September 15) agreed not to reinstate charges for the time being, potentially costing the council over £150,000. Parking in council car parks has been free since March, costing the council around £475,000 in lost income when compared to last year. Recommendations from transport infrastructure consultants SYSTRA would have seen charges brought back at pre-pandemic levels from October 5. At a meeting of the council's community and enterprise committee, Hamilton South councillor Josh Wilson proposed that charging for on-street parking be reintroduced and that a decision for off=street parking be deferred to the council's executive committee. However, it was agreed that the executive committee should consider the SYSTRA findings further before any charging comes back. That means a decision won't be made on the issue until Wednesday, November 4, at the earliest as a report on parking won't be ready in time for the next executive meeting on September 23. Read More Related Articles Pay and dismay: We reveal what council rakes in from car parks Outlining the recommendations to the committee, Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation, said: "[Parking charges] ensure junctions are free from parked cars and that loading bays are free to service businesses as required, ensuring goods can reach their intended destination. "Importantly though, they also assist in encouraging greater use of active/sustainable travel in place of the private car and such approaches are routinely adopted by many councils across Scotland, often aligned to climate change objectives. "Since the Parking Demand Management Review (PDMR) was progressed the Covid pandemic has impacted and as part of the council’s immediate response parking charges and enforcement were suspended. "However, as we have moved through the phases of recovery and against a background, of increasing traffic on our roads, the hospitality sector reopening, retailers reopening, schools returning and the need to assist in the economic recovery of our town centres, it is necessary to consider reinstating parking management services. "Since reinstating parking management and enforcement on a staged basis officers have continued to observe an increasing level of traffic on our roads. "This upward trajectory is expected to continue with corresponding demands on parking across our towns. "The reintroduction of parking charges requires to be considered not only in the context of ensuring turnover of available parking spaces to assist economic recovery, but also to manage an inevitable increase in the use of the private car as people may choose not to use public transport in the short to medium term and also to encourage sustainable travel choices, aligned with objective of a green recovery.
. "Each time they have responded in numbers and said that reforming the parking charging regime is at the top of their priority list. "I understand the arguments for parking charging, however by changing the way in which we do it, I think we can meet the challenges outlined by Mr Mackay whilst encouraging more people to shop local. "The SYSTRA report says two-hour free parking would be a useful compromise between parking charges and free parking. "They also suggest that this is introduced as a trial initially to test its success and I would be supportive of that. "By introducing this change, it would encourage a turnover of traffic whilst removing a burden on shoppers." For a two-hour free parking period to be introduced, it would have to be approved by the executive committee or the full council.
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Labour group leader Councillor Joe Fagan (East Kilbride Central South) was "disappointed" by the SYSTRA report but felt it would be "simpler to refer the whole paper to the executive committee". Hamilton West and Earnock councillor Mark McGeever asked about the idea of a pay-on-departure method. Mr Mackay said they were ready to introduce payment through the RingGo app once approved but that other methods of pay on departure involving barriers at the entrance/exit which had previously been used in Hamilton could see set up costs of around £50,000 per car park. Options to use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are not available to Scottish councils. Annual income from parking charges is worth around £1.78 million to the council.
Source = MetiNews.Com