RESIDENTS living near two key tram stops face being hit with a charge to park outside their home – amid fears “park and ride” commuters will clog up the surrounding streets.
Parking permits are being proposed ahead of the tram service going live next year, but it leaves residents facing the prospect of paying an annual fee, likely to be around £80 a year for each family car, to park in the neighbourhood.
Each household would be allowed a maximum of two permits.
Two potential trouble-spots identified are Saughton and Balgreen where residents, already annoyed by years of tramworks, are now set to be quizzed on the possibility of bringing in a priority parking scheme.
The move has been branded utterly thoughtless by critics but a necessary evil by council chiefs who want to stop the neighbourhoods from becoming clogged with commuters’ cars.
Edinburgh Pentlands MSP Gordon MacDonald said he could understand the council’s concerns over tram-line commuters leaving their cars in surrounding streets en masse at the expense of locals.
But he said: “We have no evidence that this will necessarily be the case and as many of my constituents are already struggling with the cost of living”.
He said he could not support excessive charges being levied on local families forced to pay for a residents’ parking permit. Mr MacDonald predicted commuters would be more likely to park illegally in the shopping centre car parks at the Gyle or Hermiston Gait or in the streets within Sighthill industrial estate.
Former Murrayfield Community Council chairman Walter Spence described the potential introduction of a permit scheme as “thoughtless”.
“They might have at least given us the opportunity to settle down for at least a year or so with the tram cars running to see just exactly how we’re going to be affected by it,” he said.
Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart said introducing parking permits was likely to be a “necessary evil”, but urged the council to charge a minimum fee and not turn the scheme into a “money spinner”.
The council has this week abandoned plans to introduce car permits in Groathill, Maidencraig, Brunstane and Roseburn following strong community opposition.
However, plans are still being drawn up for similar schemes in Blackford, Murrayfield, Priestfield and Craigleith.
City transport convener Cllr Lesley Hinds said: “Bearing in mind that commuters are likely to be attracted to Saughton and Balgreen once the trams are running, we felt that it would be prudent to ask people living there if they are concerned about the effect this will have on parking.
“Extensive public consultation is always carried out when we consider priority parking and similar proposals have only been progressed in other areas of the city if residents were supportive.”
More parking permits on the way
RESIDENTS in one of Edinburgh’s western suburbs will have residential parking permits imposed on them despite almost half of the respondents to the plan objecting.
The permits will be introduced in phases in Blinkbonny, with the neighbourhood’s eastern side to get the priority parking scheme first.
The move was approved yesterday despite 37 of 85 affected households that responded to a consultation process saying they did not want the changes.
Eddie Thorn, interim chairman of Craigleith Blackhall Community Council, predicted priority parking would improve safety in the area, but admitted locals had been split “50-50”.