Another example of Edinburgh City Council being ‘anti-car’? – Steve Cardownie

An Edinburgh’s councillors suggestion that there should be minimum prices for parking is part of a tiresome trend, writes Steve Cardownie.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 11:40 am
Fountain Park offers a deal to get free parking. Picture: Scott Louden

A city councillor asked at last week’s Transport and Environment Committee if the council could impose a minimum unit car parking charge in an effort to stamp out what he sees as bad practice.

He was quoted as saying: “For the St James and the Q park at Omni, do we have any way of influencing a minimum parking charge, for instance, a minimum unit pricing for parking? Can we say goodbye to what happens at Fountain Park – when they say, drive your car to Fountain Park and all you have to do is watch a film and go to Nando’s, get stamped and off you go – no parking charge.”

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It was pointed out to him that these car parks were private concerns and, as such, the council could not insist on such a policy but in any case this will be held up as another example of the council being “anti-car”, no matter what.

Ocean Terminal has never charged for parking because it is realised that if the shopping centre is to have any chance of success incentives have to be offered. A similar case exists at Fountain Park. In an effort to attract families to the site it offers the promotion detailed above, without which it might very well go to the wall.

What does an empty, derelict shopping centre do for the environment?

Would the prospect of the demise of Ocean Terminal please Leith councillors? If you imposed such a charge you would not be able to ‘cherry pick’, you would have to apply it to all. Is that what is next on the agenda? Parking charges at Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the like?

We have heard such sentiments expressed in the past – they do little to bring the public onside and no doubt we will hear more of such in the future but it is becoming more than a little tiresome.

If the council wants to convince the Edinburgh public of the wisdom of its transport strategy, it should try to ensure that public statements enhance that prospect rather than detract from it.