Brechin retailers are the latest group to express concern at the introduction of parking charges across the county, and met with Brechin and Edzell Conservative councillor Gavin Nicol to discuss the issue.
Mr Nicol has called for a minimum of a 30 minute ‘period of grace’ when parking charges are introduced across the county in October.
He said: “There has been a lot of concern about the introduction of car parking charges, and they are something I wouldn’t like to see in an ideal world.
“Unfortunately our budget is being cut, and we need to raise more revenue to maintain our roads, our car parks and our facilities.
“Introducing these charges to on-street parking, just outside the front door of a business is obviously a concern.
“However, after speaking to others around Brechin and hearing local businesses’ concerns I believe that we need to make sure half an hour of free parking remains in place – the 15 minutes free parking suggestion doesn’t go far enough.
“That way we don’t remove anything local businesses currently have. If we have 30 minutes free parking, it is no different to the 30 minutes you can park just now on-street.
“It could also mean people having longer should they be willing to pay extra.
“People can’t do that at the minute and have to move after 30 minutes regardless if they’d be willing to pay a few pounds to stay there. This could help those local businesses who need longer visits.
“I think 30 minutes free parking is the best way to go at making sure Angus Council still raises revenue to protect local services, while protecting local businesses”
Brechin butcher, Bruce Brymer argued the community warden system currently in use was working well.
He said: “These proposals are deeply worrying to local businesses.
“Previously, people might leave their cars parked all day, but having community wardens with the power to give out tickets, means that spaces are being freed up on a regular basis – people know this, so they have more confidence that they can get a parking space, and do their shopping at locally.
“I think this system is working, and putting in parking meters across the town is a massive step back, especially when around 40% of my customers come from out of town.
“Are people really going to put a pound in a meter, just so they can come in and buy a pie?
“It seems to me that whoever came up with this idea simply does not understand what is going on in our town centres – with out of town retail parks, people are simply not shopping in the town the way they used to.
“Parking meters are simply another nail in the coffin of town centre shops.
“All of the local business owners I have spoken with agree this is the wrong thing to do – and given that so many people are signing the petitions against it, suggests that the public thinks so too.”