PARKING permits will be offered to residents of all new homes created in the city centre following a U-turn by transport chiefs.
Tight restrictions were placed on motorists applying for permits after moving into converted flats and new builds three years ago.
But they will now be allowed to apply for one permit per home in a bid to make central Edinburgh more attractive to housebuilders and create a “living city centre”.
The move has prompted concern from existing residents within the Capital’s controlled parking zone who fear they will be squeezed out of the limited number of parking spaces available.
A report by Mark Turley, director of services for communities, notes there “is clearly a case of facilitating city centre housing redevelopment by allowing exactly the same rights to residents’ permits for residents of new/newly converted properties as for those living in older established dwellings”.
It adds that a developer approached the council suggesting the old policy “poses significant issues for the redevelopment” of some properties and increases pressure to create off-street parking which is often “impractical” in the city centre.
Councillor Nigel Bagshaw, transport spokesman for Edinburgh Greens, branded the move congestion-causing madness.
He said: “In some of our most densely-occupied areas there are already fewer parking spaces than permits so simply adding to the number of permits makes no sense at all. It also sends out a message that having a car goes hand-in-hand with living in the city centre.
“This is at odds with the urgent need to shift the balance in central areas, away from more traffic congestion and pollution and towards cycling and pedestrians.
“On this occasion the council should have stuck to its guns and refused yet more permits.”
Cllr Lesley Hinds, transport convener, said: “This is about striking the right balance between attracting buyers and tenants to city centre living while also encouraging more off-street parking for new developments.
“We want to encourage developers to create more residential dwellings from, for example, former office buildings in the city centre and this change will enable residents of each property in a subdivided building to apply for a parking permit if they choose to do so. By seeking developer contributions for shared parking bays, we’ll be increasing the number of spaces for permit holders around developments, which we know residents are pleased about.”
‘It’s a basic maths problem’
VIEWFORTH resident Fiona King, 31, said there was already a dearth of spaces in her area that would only be compounded by issuing more parking permits.
She said: “I think there’s an obvious discrepancy between the number of permits being issued and the spaces available. I appreciate there are pressures within the city centre but to keep increasing the number of permits with no consideration of where people might actually park is not very sustainable.
“It’s a basic maths problem and it means people park dangerously or illegally.”