Two councillors have embarked on an 11th hour attempt to prevent any possibility of parking charges in Angus.
At last Tuesday’s policy and resources committee, councillors gave the green light for local authority wardens to be able to issue fines to drivers who park on single and double yellow lines, as well as moving on people who overstay the parking limit.
The plans will now be submitted to Scottish ministers for approval.
However, as part of the submission to the Scottish Government, there is a clause that gives the council the option to introduce parking charges within Angus in the future.
The council set up a member/officer group who came up with the plan after Police Scotland removed traffic wardens, who previously enforced parking regulations, from our streets, and constant complaints were received from members of the public about the high number of selfish motorists parking illegally in the towns in Angus.
Two new wardens will be employed in the county and, along with the other community wardens, will be able to issue £60 fines to drivers who are parking illegally. This would be reduced to £30 if the charge is paid promptly.
Councillors David Fairweather, Arbroath, and Bill Bowles, Carnoustie, have referred the report to the full council meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to have the clause removed.
Mr Fairweather said: “There have not been car parking charges in rural Angus for a number of years.
“I think introducing them would be detrimental to the residents, businesses and visitors.
“We want to make people want to come here. Visitors can come and shop on our high streets and not have to pay to park.
“If I were to go to Dundee I would have to pay an astronomical amount for parking. “Not having to pay to park is one of the reasons why I shop in my home town.
“I want the clause that says car parking charges could be introduced in the future taken out.”
Mr Fairweather said he agreed with the council wardens tackling the parking problems in the county.
He added: “Parking in Angus is in chaos and we want to resolve this problem.”
Montrose Councillor Bill Duff said councillors were advised by council officers to keep the clause about the possibility of charging for parking.
He said: “I think it would be foolish to take the clause out. We don’t know what the budgets will be in the next few years.
“There is no intent to introduce car parking charges at the moment.
“I would hope that we wouldn’t have to introduce them.”
Mr Duff explained that the council won’t be able to enforce parking regulations until it is decriminalised by the Scottish Government.
He said that could take six to nine months and he didn’t expect the authority to be able to take on the role until the end of 2016.
He said: “The main job of the wardens in Angus at the moment is tackling antisocial behaviour and dog fouling.
“When parking enforcement is decriminalised, they will be to issue fines to people parking on double and single yellow lines and move on people who are overstaying the parking limit as part of their job
“I think it will be more efficient than when the police were in charge as everyone knew the days the traffic wardens were in town.
“The council wardens will be able to respond to calls from the public.
‘‘If there is a big event, for example Montrose Music Festival, they will be able to have more wardens in place to enforce regulations.
“Until we take can implement the scheme, I would encourage people to park responsibly, think about others and obey the law.”
The council has said taking on the role of enforcing parking regulations isn’t a money-making strategy, but is a response to the county-wide issue of illegal parking.
It is estimated that implementing the scheme will cost the local authority between £50,000 and £60,000 a year.