Parking charges 
on agenda

The free parking sign in The Greens.
The free parking sign in The Greens.

Crunch talks were being held in Forfar on Tuesday (yesterday) as the ‘Dispatch’ went to print which could see the re-introduction of parking charges in Angus.

Members of Angus Council’s communities committee were meeting at 2 p.m. to discuss the way forward in the wake of changes in on-street parking enforcement by Police Scotland.

In his report to committee, Ian Cochrane, head of technical and property services, revealed the minimum investment needed to establish the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Project (DPE) was £240,000 to £310,000, with an annual running cost of a deficit between £50,000 and £175,000.

He commented: “There is an existing £75,000 allocation for the development of DPE, with existing commitments for costs in this financial year with provision to carry over the balance. However, the set up costs and annual running costs cannot be accommodated within existing roads budgets without significant impact on services.

“Charging for parking offers an option to meet these costs. Use of existing funding for community wardens may be a source of funding and staff resources, but would require re-design of the service and substantial reduction in the current service delivery which Members and the public are currently accustomed to.”

The report noted Police Scotland discontinued the traffic warden service in Angus in February 2014. Since then there have been a variety of parking problems across the county and the police have deployed resources on a number of occasions.

Whilst there is some enforcement by Police Scotland there have been reported parking issues and time limited parking is potentially being abused with possible impact on the wider economy of the retail sector.

Councillors were being asked to consider the options of doing nothing and reviewing the situation in six months’ time, or implementing enforcement.

On the eve of the meeting Forfar Councillor Colin Brown erred caution stating introducing parking charges in the county’s free car parks would result in a “free for all”.

Public reaction to possible parking charges was also swift on Facebook - see inside.