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Car park changes concerns

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By Amy Duffy
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Car park changes concerns
CHANGES to parking charges at a site in Dumfries are causing consternation.
The private operators of the car park behind the Whitesands are now requesting customers pay through a mobile app.
But dozens of motorists have been caught out by the change and ended up facing fines of up to £60, while nearby business owners say it is driving people away.
And one enterprising businesswoman is now offering to pay for customer parking in a bid to get more shoppers back.
Card Cabin owner Anne McLauchlan put a post on social media after noticing a big drop in customers.
She said: “Takings are down 90 per cent.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are other factors like the weather, the fact people were told to stay at home and just the general time of year, but I definitely noticed a difference after the new charges were introduced.”
The Card Cabin’s main customers are an older generation that don’t want the stress of downloading an app and putting all their details on it, says Anne.
She also pointed out others will just shop online if they can’t park close to the shops they want to visit.
Her Facebook post has been shared across Dumfries and has been widely met with enthusiasm from locals.
In the post, Anne said: “Worst two months on record and sadly the business can’t sustain this.
“So I’m changing tactics: I will pay the first hours parking in The Whitesands/Vennel car park for anyone who spends over £5 in the shop. Proof of parking will need to be shown.”
Meanwhile, Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has been inundated with complaints about the situation.
His team are now looking into it and this week he said: “My email inbox has recently included an issue raised by local drivers, who parking for even brief periods on the former auction mart site, just off the Whitesands, Dumfries, describe later finding themselves facing hefty fees for not using a mobile phone to pay a charge at the time.
“It appears, particularly on dark winter nights when signage was not seen by some, a camera-controlled charging system registered the visits, leaving a number of my constituents subsequently deeply annoyed and disputing requests for a £60 payment.
“My constituency staff are currently investigating the issue further.”

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