New Edinburgh parking zones delayed after residents say there is no need for them
Council plans to bring in parking charges in a swathe of residential areas across the Capital have been put off after a consultation found a clear majority against the move.
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The city’s transport committee agreed to carry out further engagement with residents’ groups and others and receive another report in autumn 2022 at the latest.
Tories noted the administration was delaying any decision on the controversial plan until after next year’s council elections.
And they said the proposals for new controlled parking zones (CPZs) should be ditched now, noting the council had traditionally only introduced such zones when residents wanted them.
The plan for CPZs in Bonnington, Corstorphine, Easter Road, Murrayfield, Roseburn, Saughtonhall, West Leith and Willowbrae North are phase two of a city-wide strategic review of parking.
A senior transport official said: “It is clear from the consultation responses that the majority of respondents do not believe the introduction of parking controls is warranted at this time. We acknowledge there is a general perception that parking problems are not currently apparent in many of the areas, particularly when pandemic conditions mean many people have been working from home rather than travelling to work.”
Corstorphine/Murrayfield Tory councillor Scott Douglas told the committee he had been inundated with correspondence from residents who were opposed to the plans, but did want to see controls on parking near Murrayfield stadium on match days.
And Craigentinny/Duddingston Tory councillor John McLellan said the overwhelming majority of Willowbrae were vehemently opposed to controls at this point despite the council’s expectation that the imminent introduction of parking restrictions in nearby areas under phase one of the review would result in increased parking in their area.
He claimed the administration’s proposal to delay “simply kicks the can past next year’s election – it doesn’t recognise the significant amount of opposition there is and a rethink is need to take into account the changes in circumstances”.
Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said the parking review had started in 2018 because of a change in the nature of parking in the city and even though residents did not see a need for controls just now the council should not ignore what was likely to emerge as more normal patterns of commuting returned.
But she said: “We really need to look at the impact of phase one to understand what needs to happen around phase two, if anything.”
The Greens, however, backed the officials’ recommendation that the go-ahead for the parking controls should be given now. Leith councillor Chas Booth said: “Extending the CPZ is the right thing to do. There is strong evidence that parking price and availability is absolutely crucial to encouraging more people to travel sustainably.”
Lib Dem Kevin Lang accused the administration of a culture of ignoring consultations if it did not like the views expressed.
And he said: “I would put money on the fact that when we get through to the autumn of next year, if this administration is still in place with the election behind it, there will be a proposal to extend CPZs in these areas despite overwhelming opposition which I would suggest will be exactly the same this time next year. With no election looming, I reckon it’s going to be ‘Crack on regardless’.
"Residents don’t want a pause and to come back to this further down the track. They’ve been emphatic, they’ve said no. We should respect that and rule it out.”