Battle lines have again been drawn over parking charges in Angus, as moves to remove the fees in some towns are set to go before elected members next week.
The opposition SNP group are demanding free parking in Kirriemuir, Brechin and Carnoustie, where they say the charges have brought “devastating effects on the fragile town centres”.
Other proposals include a report on installing parking meters which accept cash in some parts of Forfar, Arbroath and Montrose, where smaller, peripheral car parks would be free.
The group also want to see all short-stay car parks extended from two hours to four hours – a prospect already raised by Montrose and District Independent councillor Mark Salmond.
SNP group leader Lynne Devine will bring a motion to the local authority’s community committee next week.
She said: “The motion has been deemed sound by council officers, which means they have checked the figures and the legality of our proposals.”
“Our motion will be stating that one size doesn’t fit all and that local changes must be made in the way parking charges are implemented across Angus.”
Kirriemuir and Dean SNP councillor Julie Bell said: “Having met with the Angus retailers association and had direct communication from local retailers and business owners in Kirriemuir, as well as the community council, it pains me that so much harm has been caused to our high street.
“This motion represents a small financial implication making a potentially life-saving difference to our small local shops, which have been directly harmed by a material change in circumstances imposed on them without any attempt to assess the impact.
“The least we can do is recognise this has been the straw that has broken the back and attempt to undo some of the damage caused.”
The parking charges were introduced in a bid to raise £700,000 per year for the cash strapped local authority, with the money raised earmarked for road repairs.
However, the scheme has been plagued by protests since its November 1 introduction at 33 off-street car parks across the county.
A spokesperson for Angus Council said they could not comment on the motion, as it was not yet in the public domain.