A new £40 annual parking permit for residents in North Berwick is being proposed as part of a plan to introduce town centre parking charges.
East Lothian Council has launched a public consultation into plans to introduce on-street and off-street parking charges across the town centre while making some areas exclusive to residents.
Visitors could pay anything from 50p to £5 to park in the town depending on the length of stay.
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Douglas Proudfoot, the council’s executive director of place, said the charges are designed to tackle problem parking in the town centre.
He said: “Demand for parking in town centres is high and there is a lack of short term spaces and we know each town is bespoke.
“North Berwick has a very high number of visitors particularly at the weekends and during summer. We want our town centres to be vibrant and healthy and this consultation is the first step in looking at how we can do that here.”
The plans create four new Controlled Parking Zones in the town, stretching from west to east with areas marked as residents parking only, a mix of residents and visitor charging spaces as well as introducing charges within current free car parks.
Charges will apply between 8.30am-6pm seven days a week and additional enforcement officers are expected to be employed to enforce the fees.
Campervans and motor homes who park overnight to the east of the town will also face nightly fees in a bid to encourage them to use established parks.
And automatic licence plate recognition equipment will be deployed to ensure people follow the rules with short term car parks charging 50p per half an hour use.
Mr Proudfoot said the aim of the new zones was to encourage people to park where they should instead of clogging up streets.
And he said the new system would benefit local businesses who could see a higher turnover of customers.
He said: “If we have a space on the street or in a car park where one car can stay all day, if we can encourage turnover then eight to 12 cars could be using that same space boosting the local economy.”
Residents who live in each of the four zones will be able to apply for up to two parking permits per household however the permit will only cover parking in the zone where they live.
- In the Central zone it is proposed the first 30 minutes of parking will be free, on street parking will be limited to 90 minutes, with no return within 2 hours. There will be a charge of £1 for each 30 minutes after the free period ends.
- Blue badge holders will be able to park on street for 90 minutes free of charge.
- In the West zone parking on street will cost 50p for every 30 minutes of parking during the charging hours from 8.30am-6pm with a maximum parking time of 5 hours.
- In the South and East zones parking on street will cost 50p for every 30 minutes of parking during the charging hours from 8.30am-6pm, so the maximum charge per day to park will be £5. No maximum length of stay is proposed.
The consultation is the first of several due to be held in the coming months focusing on each town centre in East Lothian with proposals expected to differ depending on the impact of parking issues and public feedback.
Mr Proudfoot stressed that the final plans could be very different to the ones being put to the public adding: “We will be listening to feedback and taking it onboard before any final decisions are made.”
A report on the North Berwick plans is likely to go before East Lothian Councillors in February next year and, if approved, regulations could be in place to start the scheme within a year.
The consultation will run for six weeks from 2 November to 13 December and full proposals can be viewed and responded to online at: Have Your Say Today - North Berwick Parking Management Review - Commonplace
Drop-in consultation events are being planned with details to be confirmed in due course and paper copies of the consultation will be available for collection later this week from North Berwick Community Centre, North Berwick Library, North Berwick medical practice and Gullane medical practice and can be returned to the council by post.
The council is also planning a mail drop to residents,
Council leader Norman Hampshire said: “ “With East Lothian having a growing population and being a popular visitor destination, we need to achieve a balanced and sustainable approach which meets parking needs, whilst ensuring our town centres remain vibrant and attractive places in which to live, work and visit.
““The consultation proposes measures to improve the turnover and in turn availability of parking spaces through charging in some areas, introduces permits for households in four of the busiest areas of the town and maintains provision for motorists with disabilities.
“It is a challenging financial environment for all councils, with income not keeping pace with the rising cost of delivering services. Income from parking charges can help support the setting of a balanced council budget and maintaining provision of services. This would be alongside delivering the investment required to introduce and maintain parking management arrangements and to achieve safer streets, parking space turnover and wider investment in active travel and sustainable transport provision.”
Nicky Fox, Chair of North Berwick Community Centre where free parking will be available for users of the facility, and a town centre resident, is encouraging both residents and businesses to have their say.
She said: “If we agree that current parking arrangements in North Berwick are unsatisfactory it makes sense to try new approaches - more of the same won't help. We need to find out what will work, so please contribute to the consultation.”
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