Fresh calls have been made to suspend parking charges in Dundee’s West End as working from home looks set to continue for many.
Charges have been enforced in seven car parks in the area, despite the Scottish Government saying employers had a legal duty to allow home working where possible.
This has since been relaxed to recommending a hybrid model from Monday, with a mix of home and office working.
Despite the change, West End councillor Fraser Macpherson says he will continue pushing for parking charges to be suspended.
Parking fees across the West End were lifted when the work from home order was first introduced in 2020.
These were re-introduced last September and have remained in place, despite the previous work from home advice.
Liberal Democrat councillor Mr Macpherson said the £2 per day charge makes home working difficult.
“If someone pays that all week for a year, you’re talking about £520,” he said.
“Increased working from home will remain a feature of life into the future.
“The council’s lack of action on removing the parking charges creates a disincentive for people to work from home.
“I will continue to campaign to get rid of these highly unfair parking charges.”
Before the work from home law changed, Mr Macpherson recently led a motion to suspend the parking charges.
However the SNP-led administration voted against the motion 15 to 13 at the city development committee meeting on Monday night.
Mr Macpherson motioned to suspend charges in the following car parks around the West End of Dundee:
- Pennycook Lane
- Miller’s Wynd
- Ryehill Lane
- Mid Wynd
- Union Street North
- Bellfield Street North
Reacting to the council’s decision, Mr Macpherson said: “The council SNP administration’s position on this is ridiculous.
“The vote was close but the SNP voted down my proposal to suspend parking charges for West End residents.
“The West End car parks are in residential areas with parking charges but without any form of residents’ parking scheme.
“The council should be supporting the Scottish Government advice and should have acted to make sure it is not more difficult for people to work from home.
“Many of the seven affected car parks are half empty as a result because residents are forced to try to find on-street spaces to avoid the parking charges, which is a totally unacceptable position for the council to have created.”
Some areas of Dundee offer residents’ parking permits but this has not yet been introduced in the West End.
A consultation over such a scheme began in early 2020 but has yet to be completed, sparking criticism over the delays.
Mr Macpherson said he has been assured a report on a possible parking permit scheme covering areas in the West End, Maryfield and Coldside will be prepared ahead of the next city development meeting in early March.
He added: “My concern is there will be no scheme in place for a while.
“Any plan for a permit parking scheme must be acceptable to residents.”
Responding to Mr Macpherson’s comments, city development convener Mark Flynn said: “During the lockdown period of the pandemic, a decision was made to support residents by suspending parking charges across the city at that time.
“Charges were only reintroduced across the city in May 2021 with the exception of the West End car parks, as charges were reintroduced later on September 27 in order to support and protect businesses in the West End district shopping centre.
Report on resident parking scheme due
“We have continued to monitor the Covid situation locally along with the guidance from the Scottish Government, and it’s reassuring to see the latest restrictions being relaxed further this week.
“I can also confirm that a report will be coming to the next City Development committee in March on proposals for a residents parking scheme, now that consultations have taken place in the three wards of Maryfield, West End and Coldside.”