FREE PARKING WILL not return to Elgin’s multi-story car parks in a hurry as a move to extend the ‘Free after Three’ initiative for a year failed at Moray Council on Tuesday.
Instead councillors took the option to defer any decision until after the £60,000 survey on city centre parking is completed – with one councillor dryly commenting that could take up to two years.
Elgin BID had pressed for the trial and provided the local authority with statistics that they say demonstrated its success – and asked for a continuation of the scheme that local Labour councillor John Divers argued was the ‘sensible option’.
However, while Councillor Divers was supported by SNP councillor Graham Leadbitter, it was Councillor Leadbitter’s colleague and former group leader Pearl Paul who cast doubts and proposed the measure that was ultimately accepted – that the local authority wait until after the parking survey is completed.
When pressed officials indicated that would not be likely before January next year – prompting the response from Councillor Divers that, going on past experience, January the following year was much more likely.
Council Convener Alan Wright had earlier pointed to the costs of continuing the scheme as the main factor for opposing it, saying that as it would cost around £30,000 in lost revenue it was not appropriate at this time.
Councillor Wright backed a motion by Councillor Fiona Murdoch that the scheme should not be reintroduced – that was, in the event, defeated by seven votes to six in favour of Councillor Paul’s motion, which was seconded by Buckie member Gordon McDonald.