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By Colin Smeeton
Plans for seasonal parking charges in Brodick are to be reviewed after a concerted effort was made by all three Arran and Ardrossan councillors won a fight to have the council reconsider the decision.
However, the victory is only a stay of execution and could still be rejected when North Ayrshire Council reconvenes after the summer recess.
The ‘call in request’ follows the decision made by the council, as part of a council-wide strategy to introduce short-stay parking charges, to introduce charges on the shorefront in Brodick in a first for Arran.
The charges, which were given the go-ahead at a full council meeting last month, were also allied with the decriminalisation of parking enforcement (DPE) which would allow for the council to take control over parking enforcement, currently dealt with by Police Scotland, but only in response to complaints or obstructive parking.
Voicing their objections to the decision and outlining the reasons in a lengthy report, Councillors Timothy Billings, Ellen McMaster and Tony Gurney presented their case to the Audit and Scrutiny committee who agreed that the parking charges should be reconsidered.
This stay of execution does not mean that parking charges will, or will not, be introduced, but rather that the recommendation of the Audit and Scrutiny committee will be now be considered by the Cabinet.
A North Ayrshire Council spokesman said, ‘The Audit and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations on the proposed Decriminalised Parking Enforcement and the introduction of car parking charges will be considered at a future meeting of cabinet.
‘Cabinet members can then choose to accept the recommendations or move ahead with the previously-approved proposals, which would then be considered by a meeting of the full council.’
The primary reasons given for the move by the councillors were: that it is contrary to the council’s own car parking strategy; that the short stay parking is required as long stay parking owing to the requirement of having to travel to mainland appointments; the effects on business, including promoting growth and tourism; and that the introduction of charges will encourage problematic parking in nearby areas.
Important too was the mention of the ‘easy going approach to life on Arran’ which as a tourist destination vastly differs from the mainland and city centres in how parking is utilised by residents and visitors and businesses.
A further number of reasons and implications were provided for maintaining the status quo but in summing up the paper said: ‘There is no local support to these proposals, and it is clear that the proposals were written without any understanding of how the existing car parking is used, what effects the introduction of parking charges will have on peoples parking behaviour, and what the consequences of these changes will be on residents, businesses or visitors. The report makes sweeping assumptions about the benefits of parking charges whilst providing no evidence to back them up.
‘In the case of Arran, the Cabinet has made a mistake as this proposal is clearly in opposition to the stated and agreed aims of the council. Therefore, the Audit and Scrutiny committee should recommend that parking charges are not introduced on Arran, and that Arran is excluded from the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement proposals.’
The cabinet will now consider the recommendations of the committee when they meet again towards the end of August and the start of September.
Plans for the introduction of parking charges for the shorefront at Brodick will now be reconsidered by the cabinet. 01_B24parking01