TRANSPORT chiefs have been accused of chasing parking problems around the city like “a game of whack-a-mole” amid fears proposals to set up 32 new controlled areas could move issues to other parts of the Capital.
The city council’s transport and environment committee considered plans to extend controlled parking zones (CPZs) to large swathes of Edinburgh. Conservatives called for every areas to have a majority of support form residents being plans are rolled out – but council chiefs insisted they have drawn up a strategy for the entire city and that extensive consultation will take place.
Following a strategic review, recommendations have been made for 29 neighbourhoods to potentially become a CPZ, subject to consultation, on a phased approach. It is not yet known how much permits could cost residents, if plans are pushed forward. An additional three areas, Prestonfield, Trinity and Newhaven South have been earmarked for a priority parking area (PPA) – which usually operate for a short period each day to prevent commuters from parking and allowing residents and visitors to park near their homes.
Phase one, which includes Leith, Leith Walk, Pilrig and Gorgie is set to be implemented by the summer of 2021 – while the second phase, including Roseburn, Corstorphine, Bonnington and Easter Road is expected to be rolled out by the summer of 2022.
By the autumn of 2022, the council hopes to roll out CPZs in areas including Fettes and other parts of the Inverleith ward while Portobello and South Morningside are set for CPZs by the first half of 2023.
The results of each of the consultations and monitoring will be reported back to councillors as the project moves forward, with further recommendations on additional measures designed to address parking pressures being made as required.
Liberal Democrats have warned that the authority needs to be mindful of parking problems arising in the future.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, Cllr Kevin Lang, said: “The council seems determined to treat parking issues as a game of ‘whack-a-mole’. You hit it in one area knowing full well that it will just pop up somewhere else.
“A strategic parking review should not just look at the issues of today, it should also involve action to prevent moving the problem to other areas. Instead, people in places like Blackhall and Murrayfield who already face major parking problems will see the issues in their street become completely intolerable. Worse still, the committee’s refusal to expand the scope of the consultation means these people won’t even get a chance to have their say.”
Tories saw their calls for each area to hold a majority of support from residents before plans are moved forward rejected by the SNP-Labour administration.
Conservative transport spokesperson, Cllr Nick Cook, said: “It’s essential that residents in all areas of the city have confidence that they will have a parking solution for their area that commands the confidence of their community. We know that this will become contentious in several areas going forward, but we have to be led by what our council tax-paying residents want.
“I simply don’t feel comfortable approving parking controls in an area where officers can’t demonstrate that a majority or respondents aren’t in favour of them being introduced.”
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said it was important to give locals a voice over proposed changes – but reiterated it was a citywide strategy.
She added: “This review has been in response to concerns from communities across the city, who feel that a lack of parking controls in their area is having a real impact on their ability to park near their own homes.
“Parking controls can not only benefit these residents but can encourage those travelling into the city to consider alternative, sustainable modes of transport. By looking at the entire city, including all satellite towns and villages, this review takes a strategic, proactive approach to increasing parking pressures, rather than focusing on pockets near the city centre.”