The full first-year financial picture for Angus Council’s controversial loss-making parking charges scheme will not be revealed for another two months.
Authority bosses have refused to provide figures for the first 12 months of the set-up which saw meters return to car parks on November 1 last year, after an absence of more than two decades, saying the data will be shown to councillors in a mid-January meeting.
The scheme was originally forecast to generate £700,000 a year for the cash-strapped council but has been dogged by criticism and additional cost, including a £43,000 move to offer a cash option in response to driver complaints about card payments.
The six-month net income total for the Angus-wide set-up introduced in 33 off-street car parks was just over £160,000.
Critics claim the scheme could take a decade to break even and have reacted with fury over the council’s position that the full-year information will not be provided until next year.
Kirriemuir garage owner Barrie Ewart, who led an early petition protest which saw a convoy of angry motorists swamp the authority’s headquarters, said: “It doesn’t surprise me at all that they don’t want people to know the full year picture.
“They are simply not admitting their mistake.
“They are holding public money and using public money and, like any business, they should be able to account for that in a timely fashion.
“Free Saturday parking is coming in this month and much as we are pleased about that it shows how wrong they were not to do it last year.
“Introducing this on November 1 and then having no festive concession was just crazy and it has been a disaster for them since then.”
Bruce Robertson of the Hardware Stores in Brechin and Montrose said: “They are kicking the can down the road and my first reaction is that they are hoping to get a lot of income over the Christmas period and say that they are now making a success of it.
“It’s more smoke and mirrors but in the meantime the whole thing remains fundamentally wrong and businesses are hurting – they are just running down our town centres.
“There is no reason for them not to release the figures, and they should all be available at the touch of a button.
“To not put out a clear and transparent financial picture when it should be an easy thing to do is just kicking us when we are down.”
A council spokesperson said: “We are currently collating this information to present at the next communities committee which will take place on January 14.”