Edinburgh says it can't issue visitor parking permits because they are trapped in council building

Without a permit, visitors must move their car after a maximum stay or face a fineWithout a permit, visitors must move their car after a maximum stay or face a fine
Without a permit, visitors must move their car after a maximum stay or face a fine
Full-cost charges only option

RESIDENTS entitled to cut-price parking permits for visitors are being refused them - because the council says Covid rules mean they can’t get into the building where they’re kept.

Mike Ireland, an office worker from London who regularly uses the permits when he comes up to visit his parents and grandmother in Marchmont, said he was “absolutely astonished” when he was told they were not available and given the reason.

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“I could understand it in the first few weeks of lockdown, people didn’t know what was going on. But for any building in the country to be inaccessible is ridiculous now.”

A message on the council’s website says: “We are unable to issue visitors’ permits at this time. To ensure social distancing, we are unable to access council offices where the permit stock is stored.”

The parking section is normally based at the City Chambers, but since the Covid lockdown staff have been working from home.

Mr Ireland said: “It’s just seems a mad situation. Surely one person could go and get a box from the cupboard or something.

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“They say permits might be available mid-September - but what’s changing then?”

And he was annoyed that when he emailed the council about it, the only alternative offered was to fork out for pay-and-display parking or use a multi-storey car park.

Mr Ireland said: “I would have thought in the interim it might be possible to offer a special rate via the RingGo app or some kind of other temporary permit.

“But there’s no alternative. It’s literally impossible to visit someone and park outside their house for more than a few hours.

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“A usual permit in the S1 zone costs £1.45 for the day. Instead it’s pay and display only with a maximum stay of four hours for £9.60 and then you have to move the car or you’ll get a fine.”

And he added: “Imagine if the stocks of paper for printing the fines had run out - I’m sure they’d rush in and get them out of the cupboard.”

Mr Ireland said he had often been to his parents’ flat and made use of the permits in the past, but this visit with hi partner was a late change to holiday plans.

“We were going to Spain but that got cancelled so we decided to come and spend the time in Edinburgh.”

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He said he would probably end up driving his car beyond the controlled parking zones and leaving it somewhere there during his stay.

A council spokeswoman said: “Staff have been working from home because of Covid. They have not been accessing the City Chambers and that’s why the services has been disrupted.”

She said it was hoped a more normal service could be resumed soon.

Printed versions of residents parking permits are not available either just now because they are produced by parking company NSL at a centre which is closed due to Covid. However, electronic permits are being issued instead.

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