Council looks to axe free Sunday parking

CONTROVERSIAL plans to ditch Edinburgh’s free Sunday parking tradition have been revived amid moves to extend evening restrictions.

Parking restrictions are set to come into force on Sundays. Picture: Jon Savage
Parking restrictions are set to come into force on Sundays. Picture: Jon Savage

Residents will be asked for their views on a major parking overhaul proposed for the Capital.

Complaints are regularly made about “chaotic” conditions in the city centre on Sundays as motorists clog up thoroughfares such as George Street and Regent Road, increasing congestion as a result.

Seven-day parking restrictions have been floated before but foundered in the face of fierce opposition from motorists, church groups and disabled charities.

Under the new proposals, parking rules in residential areas and across the Capital could also be simplified with more parking bays shared between permit holders and 
pay-and-display parking.

The mish-mash of differently-timed restrictions may also be evened out. Permit holders have often complained that, despite paying up to £408 per year for a permit, restrictions which end by 5.30pm mean they return home from work to find choc-a-bloc bays on their street.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said parking rules had been designed for a time when shops were closed on Sundays and had to adapt to new conditions.

She said: “There is an issue for residential areas where people will come back after 5.30pm and they can’t find space to park. Residents have asked for restrictions to be extended to 6.30pm or 7pm.

“You only have to come into the city centre on Sunday and see how chaotic it is in terms of people parking without any restrictions.

“The current rules were brought in when there was Monday to Saturday shopping. We now have seven-day retail and we need to reflect that. People can currently park in George Street all day on Sunday. How is that doing retailers any good?

Councillors on the transport committee meeting on January 13 will be asked to sign off a £110,000 study of parking in the evenings and on Sundays and the impact it has on residents and businesses, with the results published in June. A public consultation on a draft action plan would then be held some time before August.

Proposals being considered for the plan include extending evening parking restrictions, introducing parking fines on Sundays and extending permit holders’ parking rights in pay-and-display parking bays.

Cllr Hinds added: “We’re going to ask people why are people coming into the city on a Sunday, what are they using their car for, how long are they staying, so that we have that information to make a judgement on what we do.”