Campaigners have turned the screw on Angus Council chiefs with a second parking charges petition which has already gathered nearly 1,000 signatures.
Frustrated by what they have considered a stonewall response to the range of issues raises since the controversial introduction of the off-street charges on November 1, the latest online petition demands free two-hour parking at more than 30 locations across the county.
A plea for the £260 annual residents’ permit charge to be slashed to £60 has also been made.
The change.org petition, launched by Michelle Ingram from Montrose states: “Businesses across Angus are facing declining trade as a direct result of council imposed parking charges.
“Although we would like to have the meters taken out and parking charges abolished, Angus Council have said categorically that they are here to stay so we would like to propose a compromise which we feel will allow Angus Council to retain the meters but bring back much needed footfall to our local high streets.
“The meters are complicated to work, with no option to use coins to pay for parking. This has proven highly unpopular, particularly with elderly users.
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“Another problematic area is the cost of resident parking permits, which many feel are too high.”
Within two days of its launch the petition topped more than 850 signatures.
Businesses have reported disastrous declines in takings over the past month and social media has been peppered with photographs of virtually empty car parks during the working week.
Top-level figures including council leader and Arbroath Independent councillor David Fairweather have been involved in meetings with businessfolk in Forfar and Arbroath but have not offered any concessions to the scheme as it stands.
The coalition chief also took delivery of an initial petition against the charges when a large convoy of protesting drivers converged in a noisy display of opposition on the council’s Angus House HQ in Forfar.
The council has, however, agreed to set up a cross-party sub-group to scrutinise the lead up to charges being introduced.
It will look only at making possible recommendations over the decision-making process and will not be bringing any possible amendments to the nuts and bolts of the charging system back to the table.
Angus Council were not available to comment on the latest petition.