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Parking charges being considered for area

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Parking charges being considered for area

PARKING charges could potentially be introduced in certain towns in the region in a big shake-up of the rules around parking provision.

A new regionwide parking strategy has been developed over the past year, which could see Dumfries and Galloway Council apply to Transport Scotland to take over full control of parking enforcement from police.

A range of options are being considered, from pay and display and short stay parking to season tickets and discount-based options for employers.

Ultimately, council chiefs are trying to find the best solution to the increasing illegal parking problems in places like Dumfries town centre, but also looking at more rural towns too.

However, an online survey of more than 3300 people in the region showed that 78 percent of respondents were against parking charges being introduced.

Consultation work has been ongoing throughout the year and councillors attended a seminar in May where they were informed about options for decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) and the potential introduction of parking charges.

The matter will be discussed by councillors again at the council’s communities committee on Tuesday where an updated report on the development of the parking strategy will be presented.

The report states: “Previous proposals for car parking charges have raised some concerns in case they acted as a deterrent for residents and tourists visiting and shopping in town centres, and due to the potential negative financial impact on the local workforce.

“However, given the parking challenges faced within the region, and wider government policy that shifts focus towards active and sustainable travel, it is appropriate to initiate discussions, consultations and proposals around parking charges.

“Such work does not in itself equate to a definitive introduction of parking charges.”

An online survey ran from September 18 to November 15 this year to gather views of the public. They were asked questions, including whether or not they would support the council obtaining DPE powers to enforce parking rules.

A total of 3369 responses were received, with 57 percent in favour of council officers issuing parking tickets to address parking breaches.

Seventy-six percent were in favour of the council having the power to clamp down on driver parking on double and single yellow lines.

Meanwhile, 57 percent supported the council being able to take action against drivers parking longer than permitted.

The council report states: “An additional question was asked as to whether respondents support the council applying for DPE powers to allow greater levels of enforcement of prohibited parking.

“A total of 1446 respondents said yes, and 1207 said no. A further 427 said they didn’t know.”

At next week’s meeting, councillors will be asked to agree to receive a further report in February to consider a draft parking strategy, draft parking charges options report, and draft DPE options report.

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