Businesses urged to fight parking fines
A LEADING businessman has launched a campaign to fight the city centre’s "ridiculous and draconian" parking restrictions.
David Alexander, managing director of the New Town-based DJ Alexander residential letting agency, is calling on Edinburgh businesses to join forces and form a pressure group to challenge the Capital’s parking rules.
But the council today hit back, defending the parking restrictions and accusing Mr Alexander and his staff of "selfish parking".
Mr Alexander pays up to 12 a day to park his Mercedes on Great King Street near his Dundas Street office. He said he was "fed up" with receiving fines when his business meetings overran. In the most recent case, Mr Alexander said he received a 30 fine last Tuesday, just three minutes after his time expired.
"The city council is crucifying city centre businesses and driving us off the road," he said. "I have to pay up to 12 a day to park my car and I have to move it two or three times throughout the afternoon. But if a meeting runs over by just five minutes, I can be hit with a massive fine. In addition, there are not enough spaces to park, the waiting times are too short and the parking Enforcers are far too strict."
Mr Alexander added that he was even considering selling his 100,000 car and investing in a bus pass instead.
Tony Bryer, chairman of the City Centre Small Businesses Association, said he would lend his support to Mr Alexander.
"Hopefully this might make the council listen to businesses and we can encourage a review of the situation."
John Richardson, chairman of the Old Town Business Association, also welcomed the move, saying: "People from out of town are given the impression there is absolutely nowhere to park in Edinburgh and so they don’t come into the city centre, which hits small businesses very hard. We would be happy to be involved with any pressure group. If you don’t ask you don’t get."
And business tycoon Thom McCarthy, who has blamed strict parking restrictions for the closure of two of his city shops, said: "The diversity of small businesses is being quashed by these restrictions and it is high time that someone stood up to the council."
A council spokesman insisted "considerable parking" existed around the letting agency office.
"Staff employed by the trader concerned have repeatedly refused to abide by local parking restrictions and have, for convenience, chosen to park on yellow lines and at a bus stop rather than in public parking spaces.
"We have received a number of complaints from nearby businesses and residents complaining about the parking actions of the trader’s staff and about the detrimental impact that selfish parking is having on them."
A spokesman for Central Parking Systems, which is contracted by the council to enforce parking restrictions, added: "Parking attendants are just ordinary people doing their jobs."
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