Parking charges could return to Angus after an absence of two decades.
Councillors will consider a report on issues behind chaotic parking arrangements across their burghs.
It is understood that next week’s meeting of the policy and resources committee will be asked to bring back traffic wardens amid increasing frustration over town centre parking problems.
The councillors are responding to a recent survey about enforcement.
Yesterday police issued fines to more than a dozen motorists parked on double yellow lines in the space of just half an hour.
Parking in Angus has been free for around 20 years a status long prized by councillors, who in the past have acknowledged its tourism benefits.
Set-up costs are estimated at between £240,000 and £310,000, with the annual cost of enforcement between £50,000 and £175,000.
A spokesman for the local authority said: “The council is grateful to everyone who took time to respond to our invitation to participate in a survey regarding the potential decriminalised parking enforcement, as well as those who sent emails and comments.
“People will recall that when the issue was previously reported to committee there was an agreement to set up a member/officer working group.
“The outcome of the survey has helped to inform this work and will be reported back to members for their consideration at the next meeting of the policy and resources committee.”
The council has been urged not to introduce parking charges that would deal “another blow” to the county’s struggling High Streets.
Conservative North East MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Treating shoppers and visitors as cash cows might earn Angus Council some money but it will do absolutely nothing for retailers.”
It is predicted that charging 40 pence for 30 minutes of on-street parking would bring the council £375,000 a year.
Charging 60 pence an hour for off-street parking could net a further £500,000 per annum.
In February last year Police Scotland discontinued the traffic warden service in Angus, although it continued to deal with dangerous and obstructive parking.
Since then there have been reports to the council of various parking issues and time-limited parking being abused.
Problem hotspots including Montrose High Street have been tackled by police traffic officers in recent weeks.
Enforcement could take the form of an equivalent traffic warden service to enforce on-street parking, funded by fine income and council budgets, or with the introduction of parking charges to cover the scheme’s costs.BackgroundParking charges have proved a political hot potato over two decades.
Angus swept away charges with the arrival of the new single-tier authority in 1996.
The drive to abolish them was led by the late Sandy West, a Montrose SNP councillor who criticised what he felt was an unfair and arbitrary policyintroduced by a Labour administration of the former Tayside Regional Council to introduce them.
Mr West unsuccessfully argued that the pressures affecting city centres in the likes of Dundee and Perth were not so prevalent in Angus burghs.
At that time the county’s off-street car parks were under-used and the SNP-run council said the removal of charges would help fill them up and bringpositive benefits for town centre visitors.
Parking provision was also running at a five-figure per annum loss at the time.
Free parking in Angus has frequently been hailed as a worthwhile asset for locals and visitors and in 2010 a storm erupted over any threat to the status quo.
The then Angus Alliance was accused of fearmongering by the SNP opposition over a proposal to install a ticket machine in one Arbroath car park, to help traffic wardens monitor motorists overstaying their allotted time.
Nationalist councillors said the move would be the “thin end of the wedge”.
Recently the chaotic situation in towns like Montrose has broughtpressure from councillors and seen police traffic officers carry out ticketing enforcement duties on the High Street.Opinion: A bit of a brachIt’s a bit like a free bar at a do very welcome and genuinely appreciated, but the few who go over the score usually end up spoiling it for everyone who behaves properly, writes Angus chief reporter Graham Brown.
Apologies for using drinking toillustrate the subject of driving but it seems an appropriate analogy for Angus’s free car parking situation.
The problem is that almost two decades of being able to offer a silent “cheers” without having to popanything in the meter has left Angus in a bit of a brach.
Without the real threat of any penalty from either (now non-existent) wardens or (now increasinglypressured) police, parking in our burghs has become a total free-for-all.
And, as inhibitions have beendiscarded, all manner ofindiscretions have created a hangover-sized headache.
Shoppers can’t find on-street parking because people stay there all day; some longer-stay car parks are constantly full; and single, even double yellow lines might just as well be laid with invisible paint for all the notice that is taken of them.
Some will be cynical that if parking charges are to return it’s just a means of making some easy council cash. But in their current financial crisis, the income it might bring in will be like trying to run a bath without the plug in.
If free parking goes it will come down to a cocktail of considerations.
And then the party will be over.