Angus councillors have been told to fall on their swords over the controversial introduction of parking charges in the county.
Business owner Margaret Robertson accused elected members of “showing a contempt for the whole of Angus” as she delivered a broadside at a meeting of the full council in Forfar yesterday.
Mrs Robertson, who represents the Angus Business and Retailers Association, told councillors: “By not answering questions posed to you, you are showing an arrogance beyond belief and by a continual denial to talk about any compromise or resolution, you are showing a contempt for the whole of Angus.
“If you can’t, or won’t fulfil your obligations to the people of Angus, then you should seriously consider you own resignation because at this moment any credibility you have as capable decision-makers is nil.”
Mrs Robertson said the council’s decision to impose the charges for off-street parking was to blame for businesses having to pay off staff.
She said sales at her business, which has two branches in Angus, had dropped by 23%, and if the situation continued, she predicted that up to six businesses would close over the next year in Brechin alone.
She also revealed the response to a freedom of information request she had received earlier in the day which gave the total cost to introduce the scheme as more than £240,000, which includes 40 meters installed at a cost of £118,000.
She added that the wage costs associated with the process amounted to an additional £500,000.
The cash-strapped local authority, which has resisted calls to install meters which accept cash, or to allow free parking in the run-up to Christmas has predicted the scheme could raise £700,000 a year.
It has promised to ring-fence the money for road repairs across the county.
Carnoustie and district Independent councillor David Cheape said: “I think we are at the point of needing empirical evidence about the decline in footfall and takings.”
Angus parking charges will begin in October.Brechin and Edzell SNP councillor Kenny Braes said: “You don’t need figures to see the devastating impact that the charges have had.”
The deputation of business people at Thursday’s meeting came after a network failure felled all of the parking meters in the county, and after four of the machines were vandalised.
A senior council source has suggested the damaged meters may have to be replaced.