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Extra time and no penalty? Free Angus on-street parking could rise to an hour

Angus on-street parking
Forfar High Street.

Free on-street Angus parking could be doubled to an hour.

On Thursday councillors will be asked to look at stretching the time shoppers can park in town centres.

It follows a community consultation that drew more than 3,000 responses.

A free hour was the top choice of more than half of those who replied to the survey.

It followed the setting up of a member/officer working group (MOWG) last year to look at the issue of parking in Angus.

Off-street charges suspended

That came into being following the controversy around the re-introduction of off-street parking charges in the district after an absence of 20 years.

However, covers have remained on meters in the area’s 33 off-street car parks since the first lockdown last year.

The council’s ruling group has decided off-street charges will remain suspended until the end of the current administration in 2022.

Angus on-street parking

Attention has now moved to how long shoppers should be able to park for free on-street.

Survey results revealed overwhelming support for a period longer than the current half hour.

Alongside the online public survey, the council also brought together a focus group involving Angus Tourism Co-operative, Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, retailers groups and business associations as well as several community councils.

Majority view

The councillor/officer group met in March and road official Walter Scott said the majority view was to extend the current 30-minute limit.

He said: “The MOWG did not reach a consensus on whether the duration should be extended to 45 or 60 minutes or left at the current duration of 30 minutes.”

However, the group did come down against the idea of varying time limits across different Angus towns.

“The MOWG agreed that it would be most appropriate for clarity and operationally that a single on-street duration across Angus would be preferred,” Mr Scott added.

“The MOWG felt that it would be most appropriate for a decision on the choice of 30, 45 or 60-minute on-street car parking durations to be agreed by the full council.”

It would cost around £20,000 to put new signs and traffic orders in place if a new time limit is agreed.

Mr Scott also said the council should not bank on extra income from parking fines.

“There is no evidence to indicate that changing the duration of on-street parking from 30 minutes to 45 or 60 minutes would lead to a change in the number of infringements,” he said.

Shopper turnover

Katharine McLean, who owns Andrew Begg Shoes in Forfar West High Street, welcomed the prospect of the time limit being extended as the country emerges from the pandemic.

“Anything that encourages people to feel relaxed about coming into the town has to be welcomed,” she said.

“My personal preference would be for 45 minutes.

Forfar retailers backed the continued suspension of off-street charges, which are now on hold until May 2022.

“Some were definitely in favour of an hour; I think 45 minutes would be a good compromise.

“One thing that retailers were in agreement on was that we absolutely need it to be policed so that people do not exploit it.

“That keeps a turnover of people who are parked but still gives them time to do a shop,” she said.

Keep it Free: Survey reveals overwhelming opposition to Angus parking charges

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