Portobello residents say Edinburgh council plans for controlled parking zone is tax on residents, businesses, workers and visitors

More than 1,800 people have signed a petition calling on the council to scrap plans for a controlled parking zone in Portobello, which campaigners say amounts to a tax on the area’s residents, business owners, workers and visitors.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 4:55 am

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The proposals include new double yellow lines in many streets, a residents permit scheme and some pay-and-display parking but an overall reduction in the number of spaces available.

"Parking is free in Portobello and it always has been,” said care manager Lisa Williamson, who started the petition. “But they’e going to turn it all into chargeable spaces whether it's permits or pay-and-display.

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Regent Street in Portobello [email protected] Lisa Ferguson

"In the last few years loads and loads of new businesses have opened on Portobello and it's amazing, but it involves staff who need to travel to and from work, especially in pubs where they’re working late and the bus service isn't as good later on so the need to drive and be able to park.

"Small, independent businesses aren't going to be able to afford the additional cost of having to pay for parking so they're going to look elsewhere when they're wanting premises and it's going to have detrimental effect on everybody.”

And she fears time limits on pay-and-display parking will deter visitors, hitting local businesses.

Ms Williamson said there were issues which needed to be tackled, particularly people parking on pavements and access problems in narrow streets like Marlborough Street, Regent Street and Straiton Place, but she argued the proposals were not the right answer.

Pavement parking is an issue - but has the council got the right answer

"One of the biggest things is there would be a significant reduction in the number of parking spaces, so everyone is just going to park further away, outside the zone, in Joppa or up to Brunstane, so it just moves the problem from one area to another.

“Most people probably agree something needs to be done but I'd rather the council listened to what we who live here and work here think would help. Putting tax on businesses and residents isn't the way forward.

"There was a consultation, but it was a survey and it was so heavily leaning in favour that there wasn't really any opportunity to air any opposing views. Then there were two meetings over Teams but again they weren't there to listen to any opinions, they were just there to give information. They didn't ask anyone what we want. It's not 'What do you think?'. It's ‘This is what’s happening’. It's really frustrating.”

Councillors have agreed delay plans for parking zones in several areas across the city which were in phase two of the council’s parking review, but it is not clear what that means for those, like Portobello, in phase four.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said a consultation was currently being carried out in Portobello and other areas in phase four of the council’s parking review to find out more about parking challenges faced by residents and their views on the proposals. She said the review was sparked by residents’ concerns about the impact of non-residential parking.

"Ultimately, these proposals are to benefit those living in Portobello, which can be extremely popular with visitors who drive there. Parking controls would provide better access to residents’ parking, a safer environment for walking, cycling and wheeling and more liveable streets for everyone.”

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