PRESSURE IS GROWING on Moray Council to think again over their parking policy in Elgin with the city centre business group joining calls for a petition against the plans.
Elgin BID are calling on the public to help halt the car parking price increases from being approved when they go before a special meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on December 4.
The proposed increases will affect the majority of car parks in Elgin, as well as areas where charges do not currently exist such as the Train Station and Cooper Park.
David Robertson, Chair of Elgin BID, said “We have genuine concerns about the negative economic impact this will have on the city centre, to city centre businesses and to residents living close by.
“We are asking for your support and help. Please sign our petition and show the Moray Council your concerns, we hope that will result in them withdrawing the existing proposal. The link can be found on the Embrace Elgin web site, Elgin BID Facebook page or by visiting the petition online.”
A paper was put to the Committee two years ago requesting an independent review take place to look at parking issues, with particular emphasis being placed on the need to address parking in the streets and supporting the local business economy. In the brief it stated that “income generation is not an objective in itself”.
Consultants were commissioned at a cost of approximately £60,000 to carry out the review, meet stakeholders and present their findings to the Council. During meetings with the consultants Elgin BID and City Centre businesses were given the opportunity to provide their views and offer practical solutions.
BID highlight that council officials prepared the parking proposal from the resulting report – and was passed by a single vote at the Economic Development & Infrastructure committee last week.
They had eagerly awaited the outcome of the proposal – but were disappointed that it failed to take up the suggestions made by BID or the Business members, adding that it only serves to exacerbates the situation of on street parking and more importantly adds pressure to the businesses having an adverse effect on the High Street.
Gill Neill, Manager of Elgin BID, said: “Car parking charges are one of the biggest concerns that I hear when I am chatting to the businesses.
“We feel that we proved with the Free After 3.00pm parking pilot report that having some free parking did have positive economic benefits for the city. We know that the Council is facing challenging economic circumstances, but we are simply asking that the Elgin City Centre businesses are not disadvantaged.
“Pressures on businesses continue to grow, from out of town retail developments, new rules on pensions and wages, rates increase etc, times are tough, and this will not help.
“If parking charges are increased then it does threaten businesses, surely it is better to help the local business economy thrive, the results will not only help the businesses and their staff but the local authority too.”