Call for delay
Sunday parking charges imposed as shops reopen
Soon to include Sundays
Edinburgh City Council will welcome the re-opening of struggling businesses by introducing Sunday parking charges to deter motorists from the city centre.
The changes will come into force from 11 April as many shops and other firms come out of lockdown and hope to see customers return.
The new controls – from 12.30pm to 6.30pm every Sunday – are being introduced as part of the Parking Action Plan, which was approved in 2016.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, accused the council of being too hasty to impose charges.
“Shopkeepers view restrictive and costly parking as a real bugbear for shoppers and something which deters footfall,” he said.
“If we are to encourage shopper visits and get Edinburgh’s economy moving again once stores emerge from lockdown, then parking needs to be easy and affordable.
David Lonsdale: ‘Sunday parking charges should wait’ (pic: Terry Murden)
“The extra charges for Sunday parking ought to be considered only after stores re-open and are given a bit of time to recover.”
The council said its plan “is key to realising our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030 and supports the City Mobility Plan, a ten-year strategy to rethink the way people and goods move in and around the city, reducing the dominance of traffic and creating streets and spaces for people.
“Sunday parking charges recognise the fact that, under normal circumstances, Edinburgh is now a seven-day city, with many shops, restaurants and visitor attractions open throughout the week.”
It said the changes bring Edinburgh into line with many other UK cities which already charge for Sunday parking, including Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham.
Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, added: “These updated controls are about improving conditions in the city centre, creating a safer environment and tackling inconsiderate parking, as well as providing greater flexibility for residents to park nearer their homes.
“There is no doubt Edinburgh is a seven-day city, and we simply must address this as restrictions begin to be lifted and people return to the centre for shopping and socialising.
“We want to support businesses to recover from the COVID pandemic and greater parking controls on a Sunday will encourage customer turnover, allow more access for servicing and create a more pleasant atmosphere for everyone.”
Hairdressers, garden centres, car showrooms and forecourts, homeware stores and non-essential click and collect services will be able to open from Monday 5 April, subject to enhanced safety measures including physical distancing, face coverings and pre-booking where appropriate.
More college students will be able to return to on-campus learning and 12-17 year-olds will be able to resume outdoor contact sports from this date.
Restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries will remain in place.
People must stay within their council area for non-essential shopping and should only travel to another area for essential shopping if there are no practical alternatives.
People should also continue to work from home where they can to prevent unnecessary contact that could risk transmission of the virus.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “As the vaccine rollout continues to give us all optimism, more businesses in our crucial retail and hospitality sectors still await word on whether or not they will be able to re-open at the end of April.
Liz Cameron: ‘businesses on tenterhooks’
“Missing the Easter period, which is usually a boom period for retail and hospitality, means that the delay to re-opening risks widespread business collapse. Government must also consider a further package of business support to help these businesses survive over the next few crucial weeks.
“Businesses are on tenterhooks as we await further detail from the Scottish Government on what the revised level criteria will look like.
“Until then, we all must continue to follow government guidance to ensure these businesses will be able to return without delay. Businesses have spent millions and millions in creating safe environments to re-open, they are ready to operate safely and support their local communities.”