Two-car homes face parking permit price hike

There are currently more permit holders than bays in the Capital's parking zones one to eight. Picture: Jane Barlow

There are currently more permit holders than bays in the Capital's parking zones one to eight. Picture: Jane Barlow

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HOUSEHOLDS with more than one car are facing a price hike for a second parking permit, it emerged today.

Council chiefs are considering the move as part of a planned overhaul of parking across the city intended to free up spaces.

But opposition politicians have already warned it will hit families in the pocket and leave the council looking like it is “anti-car”.

The current pricing system is based on engine size, length of permit and parking zone, and ranges in price from £31.50 to £408 with a 25 per cent increase for a second vehicle.

That could now soar even further, potentially hitting flat-sharing young professionals as well as families.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said nothing had been decided and there were no firm proposals.

She said: “This proposal is at a very early stage.

“We need to look at ways of managing demand for permits as there is significant pressure in the city at the moment.”

At present in parking zones one to eight there are 9750 permit holders and 7164 parking bays.

The latest plan is part of rollout of the shared-use approach piloted in the city centre where permit spaces were opened up for pay and display use and vice versa.

This is seen as a possible answer to the problem of resident bays lying empty throughout the day and pay spaces left vacant overnight.

Also under consideration is an offer of free permits to carers as currently operated by Fife Council and free parking to City Car Club members.

Cllr Hinds added: “Our Parking Action Plan aims to balance drivers’ access to shops, amenities and homes with safe and active travel and an enhanced environment for pedestrians and cyclists, and builds of feedback from residents.

“We are also committed to providing care for elderly and less able residents, so plans for carers’ permits will help address parking issues for families, friends and staff supporting care for people in their own homes.”

Fully costed proposals for the varied projects are expected to be put before the city transport committee in early 2015.

Murrayfield Conservative councillor Jeremy Balfour said: “If the council are going to charge people more to park two cars outside their home then they must be given a guarantee that they will have a space.

“Most two-car households have a second vehicle through necessity not luxury, families need a second car to ferry children around. Motorists already pay enough in tax and this just seems like more. The council shouldn’t be seen as anti-car.”

Viewforth resident Fiona King, 31, believes the shared-use scheme could go a long way to relieving pressure in the area.

She said: “Making parking spaces work for a range of users in the community is really important when there is so much congestion.

“The devil is, of course, in the detail and this must be carefully thought through.

“It’s good to see the council taking steps to address the problem of parking pressures in the city but the problem is there are just too many cars and the streets in the south side of the city cannot cope. Demand is increasing and tinkering with parking space designation is not going to address that.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com