Free Sunday parking in Glasgow city centre is being scrapped from next weekend, with motorists being charged up to £8 as part of efforts to cut congestion and air pollution.
From next Sunday the use of on-street parking bays will be limited to a maximum of two hours.
We are concerned these charges will lead to shoppers being pushed out of the city centre and towards peripheral malls, which is worrying ...STUART PATRICK Glasgow Chamber of Commerce CEO
Motorists will be charged £1 for every 15 minutes, the same as on other days of the week.
Waiting and loading restrictions will also be applied to single yellow lines across the city centre, with new taxi ranks created and existing ones extended to give people other ways of travelling.
Glasgow City Council said allowing people to park for free all day on Sunday created build-ups of traffic as drivers searched for other places to leave their cars.
The authority argued the new charges would make the system fairer as they would discourage people from hogging on-street parking spaces and allow others to use them for short periods.
The move is also intended to encourage people to use greener and healthier methods of transport such as walking, cycling, buses and trains to get in and out of the city centre.
“This new range of measures is about tackling parking bay blocking in the city centre on a Sunday,” a council spokesman said.
“Many drivers currently park on the street on a Saturday night, leaving their vehicles unmoved until well into the next day.
“Other motorists also take up spaces for long spells throughout the day on a Sunday. The new regulations will make Sunday on-street parking more frequently available to shoppers, visitors, tourists, blue badge holders and residents alike.
“Improved parking regulations are known to reduce congestion and this in turn should improve air quality in the city centre.”
However, the move has prompted fears that city centre retailers – many of which are already struggling – will suffer from a drop in footfall by discouraging shoppers. Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are concerned these charges will lead to shoppers being pushed out of the city centre and towards peripheral malls, which is worrying for traders and in contrast to our overall ambitions for retail and leisure in the city.
“We’ve long suspected these proposals are more about raising money than being genuine attempts at alleviating congestion or pollution – enacted at a time when businesses are under real pressure.”
Edinburgh has also moved to axe all free Sunday parking, with the aim of launching on-street pay and display charges during the 2019-20 financial year.
The authority had hoped to roll out the new Sunday charges from April, but warned earlier this year that legal processes could lead to delays of “up to 18 months”.
Zones one to four as well as 1A are set to receive the new Sunday charges including the city centre, the West End, Tollcross, Southside and Fountainbridge – along with “main traffic routes”.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has raised concerns the changes will hamper traders in the city centre.
Garry Clark, FBS east of Scotland development manager, previously said many city centre businesses would be angered by the introduction of Sunday parking charges.