Slashed fees will turn us into car park

Jim Geekie is angry about a reduction in pay and display charges
Jim Geekie is angry about a reduction in pay and display charges
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HOMEOWNERS have accused city transport chiefs of attempting to turn their neighbourhood into a “mega car park” by introducing new cut-price parking charges.

Pay-and-display fees are set to be slashed from £5.50 to just £3 in 17 streets, which are mainly on the periphery of the city centre.

The city council transport department said the aim of the move was to spread out allocated spaces instead of clogging up many already-packed residential streets in the city centre.

A public consultation on the plans – which would reduce charges for around 530 spaces – is currently under way.

Residents in the streets affected today said they feared a return to scenes before the controlled parking zone (CPZ) was introduced.

Almost all of the streets feature shared parking spaces, which allow residents who own an annual permit to also leave their car in pay-and-
display areas. Permit holders argued that encouraging commuters to use these spaces would leave fewer spaces available for them.

Merchiston resident Jim Geekie, who lives in Temple Park Crescent, said those who had paid for permits could be forced to park further away from their homes to make way for commuters.

He said: “The CPZ scheme was supposed to discourage commuters from driving into the city and now it’s doing the exact opposite by making parking cheaper than a day ticket on the bus.”

Fellow resident Bridget Stevens said that residents had been left “truly dismayed” at the city council’s plans.

At £3, all-day parking would be cheaper than buying a £3.50 day ticket with Lothian Buses, which Mrs Steven said would encourage more drivers to take their car into town.

She added: “If the £3 for nine hours is introduced, they [the streets] will undoubtedly be overrun with vehicles.

“The spaces are a good thing because it allows local people to come and go, visiting the local shops. Now the council is taking a step back and it’s going to turn this area into a mega car park.”

Controlled parking on the periphery of the city centre was introduced several years ago to prevent commuters from parking in residential streets.

However, the spaces, costing £5.50, have not been taken up and the 
transport department is attempting to make better use of them.

Bosses there are also under pressure from struggling businesses which want easier parking facilities near the city centre.

Areas included are Merchiston, Polwarth and London Road.

Mairianna Clyde, chairwoman of Merchiston Community Council, said: “Where park-and-ride facilities exist they are generally on the fringes of cities in brownfield sites, not in the heart of residential areas.

“How would commuters from out of town feel about park-and-rides being set up right in the middle of their 
housing estates to benefit the residents of central Edinburgh?

“They told us that with controlled parking there would be fewer cars, less traffic, less pollution, safer streets for children, that it would be calmer.

“Now they want to turn the clock back to the previous situation. It is a betrayal.”

The city council said there were several reasons to support the new parking measures.

Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “We are currently looking at altering the way city centre car parking is charged to make it a fairer and relieve the pressure on busy areas.

“These changes include removing the three-hour minimum charge period and introducing a maximum charge of £3 for nine hours of parking.

“By simplifying the charges, we will encourage those who already park in uncontrolled areas to spread out, cutting down on congestion and pollution.”

SPACE RACE

THE number of spaces available in the streets affected:

Annandale Street.............76

Beaverbank Place.............12

Beaverhall Road...............24

Brunswick Road..............26

Cluny Avenue...................30

Colinton Road..................18

Craigleith Road................46

Dundee Terrace................16

Harrison Road.................46

Hopetoun Crescent..........12

London Road....................74

Orchard Brae Avenue.......17

Polwarth Terrace.............43

Ravelston Terrace............20

South Ettrick Road..........20

Spylaw Road....................30

Wester Coates Road.........22