OPPOSITION GROUP COUNCILLORS have hit out at a decision on Tuesday to progress with increased parking charges in Elgin.
They insist that a review of parking was supposed to tackle the issue of parking on residential streets – but instead of dealing with that issue it will make it worse.
At the Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee councillors were asked to consider the outcome of the Elgin Parking Review – which included the introduction of a £5 daily charge for parking at the railway station.
There are also a raft of changes that caused concern for SNP and Labour councillors, with even the Council Leader voicing concerns over the rail station charge. SNP councillor Graham Leadbitter and Labour councillor John Divers sought a delay on any decision until consultations had taken place – that, however, was blocked by six votes to five.
The only concession to the plans will be that the new charge for rail station users will be limited to £2 a day.
Speaking after the vote the SNP’s Spokesperson on Economic Development and Infrastructure Services and Councillor for Elgin City South, Graham Leadbitter, said: “This decision today will be bad for residents, who already see significant issues with on street parking, it is also going to be bad for business with the charge doubling for parking up to two hours.
“While there are some aspects of the proposals that are good such as the £1 all day charge for Batchen Lane Multi-Storey Car Park and the introduction of a new Coach Stop and having ‘Free After 3’ for the Christmas shopping period, I have serious concerns over the impact of these changes.
“One of the main reasons for getting this work done was to find a solution to on-street parking issues and that has simply failed to materialise. This will lead to further congestion in residential streets and unfairly penalises rail users and shoppers.
“A huge amount of work is being done to improve Elgin City Centre with major building improvements and many new businesses opening up in recent months. Today’s decision unfortunately sets that good work back a few steps. We will now need to redouble our efforts to support the centre of Elgin.”