‘Common sense’ prevails as free parking scheme is extended

Free after 3 trial to extend beyond Christmas holiday
Free after 3 trial to extend beyond Christmas holiday

MORAY COUNCIL WILL extend a trial scheme allowing free parking at two sites in Elgin through the Christmas period.

The move came at what was at times a heated meeting of the economic development and infrastructure services committee on Tuesday.

While officials were reluctant to consider an extension to the existing six-month trial, which was due to end at the start of December, Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross argued that would be pointless.

Councillor Ross said that to await a report on the success of the trial when Councillors had made it clear that, had they been aware at the outset the trial would end just before Christmas, they would have agreed an additional month.

When he was permitted to put forward a formal motion on the issue, Councillor Ross was backed for what was described as “the sensible thing to do” by the Convener, with the motion to extend the trial through Christmas then unanimously passed.

Councillor Ross said after the meeting: “At times the committee meeting felt like trying to run through mud, such were the obstacles being put in front of my proposal to extend the trial by a month after it was originally due to finish on December 8.

“When councillors agreed to the six-month trial we had no start date. If councillors had been aware that the free after 3 trail would end at the beginning of December, just as shops are gearing up for the busy Christmas period, we would have extended it. That is what makes this decision simply common sense.

“Some councillors wanted another report and more information but by agreeing to my motion we can send out an early message to businesses and customers that this trial will be in place throughout the festive period – and I look forward to the report that will then come back assessing the pros and cons of the scheme.”

As a result of the agreement car parks in Batchen Street and St Giles Centre will remain free of charge from 3pm each day until January.