A drop-in event at Kirriemuir to gauge the impact of parking charges attracted a “steady stream” of visitors said organisers.
Kirriemuir and Dean SNP Councillor Julie Bell welcomed the “reasonable discussions” that had taken place, adding it had been good to meet people to hear their views, and promised they would be taken into account.
“All the views we have received will feed in to the Scrutiny and Audit review that will be run by the council starting in January, when the panel will be considering the validity of the way these parking charges were introduced.
“The whole parking charges issue is ill-conceived using ‘back of an envelope’ sums, and what we are learning today, is that had people’s views been sought in advance, something workable could have been introduced.”
The cash-strapped local authority, which has resisted calls to install meters which accept cash, or to allow free parking in the run-up to Christmas has predicted the scheme could raise £700,000 a year.
It has promised to ring-fence the money for road repairs across the county.
However, at current rates, machine-generated income would fail to achieve that.
Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey has also appealed to Angus Council to take on board the concerns of local businesses being impacted by the introduction of parking charges to take a new approach on the issue.
Graeme Dey MSP said: “It is crystal clear to everyone that the decision to introduce parking charges, certainly in the form it has taken, has, both in terms of income generation for the council and impact on business, been extremely misguided.
“Footfall on our high streets has fallen away, at the very time of year when the shops on them count on accruing a large proportion of their annual income.
“I know of a number of shopkeepers who come January will be seriously considering whether they can continue in business such has been the impact of the reaction of the public to the introduction of charging.”
However, Angus Council finance supremo Councillor Angus Macmillan Douglas hit back: “The fact is that every single councillor voted for the introduction of parking charges as part of the budget process.
“The council is in a dire financial situation and we have to prioritise how we spend our limited resources, and that means maintaining and improving school performance, enabling our growing elderly population to live comfortably in their own homes and supporting children whose family circumstances are such that we must take on the role of their corporate parent.”