Angus Council is reviewing payment choices for its off-street car parks with plans to introduce an option to pay by cash.
Proposals being put before next week’s Communities Committee will also seek approval for monthly and quarterly parking permits, in addition to the half-yearly and annual subscriptions that have been in place since the launch of Pay to Park in November. Agreement will also be sought for the possible introduction of a direct debit payment scheme for parking permits.
Communities Convener, Cllr Mark Salmond said the changes were aimed at giving people more options to pay for their parking and make it as easy as possible for customers to pay.
He said: “We listened to what people have been telling us and I am pleased that we have plans to introduce a cash option as a part of refining our parking payments scheme.
“The intention is to set up a Member Officer Group that will examine two options, a scratch card system, as is used elsewhere, or a coin operated system.
“I fully recognise there is a desire for us to provide more options other than the cashless payment system we currently offer. Regrettably, it will come at a cost, but I realise that the digital only option has proved to be a barrier for some and I want to put that right.”
In addition to the annual £260 permit and £130 half-yearly permit, it is now proposed to make monthly and quarterly permits available at a cost of £21.67 and £65 respectively. All these permit options present people with opportunities to make significant savings against a daily parking charge (Mon-Sat) of £4.
Cllr Salmond added: “We know that some people would like us to remove parking charges completely from our off-street car parks. That is not an option given the ongoing extreme financial pressures we face in Angus.”
Communities Vice-Convener, Cllr Tommy Stewart said: “As we have stated on many occasions, our budget gap is £36,5million and we have already made £43 million of budget reductions since 2013. Any alternative proposals must take account of the challenges we face with balancing budgets and delivering priority services. While other authorities charged for parking, we provided it free of charge for 22 years in Angus. We cannot afford to do that anymore.
“As a council, we have a responsibility to present a balanced budget while serving everyone in our community and protecting the vital services we provide through education, social care and on our roads and pavements.
“It is our aim to achieve that by asking residents and, indeed, visitors to Angus to pay a small charge to park in our off-street car parks. By introducing more permit options and, ultimately, the choice of paying by direct debit we can assist people to spread the costs associated with driving and owning a car.
“An off-street parking charge of £1 per hour up to a maximum of £4 stands very favourable comparison against charges levied by other councils in Scotland – on and off street.”
Subject to agreement, the Member Officer Group will be established following the Communities Committee meeting on Tuesday 15 January and will report back with recommendations to the following committee on 26 February.