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Venues ‘should ban political events’ over car policy

Glasgow-George-Square
Glasgow City Council is facing a backlash over its anti-vehicle plans

Glasgow City Council’s latest anti-vehicle plans have prompted calls for hospitality venues to stop hosting events for politicians until the proposals are dropped.

The SNP last week won support from the Green party to back the council’s budget which will mean extending parking charges until 10pm seven days a week, a tourist tax, congestion charge and the likely introduction of a workplace parking levy.

This is in addition to the controversial low emission zone which came into effect last summer.

City treasurer councillor Ricky Bell said the plans “will raise additional income from others who come to our city who are not Glaswegians and allow us to be able to spend better and improve our city.”

Furious business owners and representative groups say the council seems determined to kill trade in the city centre and question council leader Susan Aitken’s aim to make Glasgow almost car-free by following the example of cities across Europe.

Susan Aitken Glasgow City Council
Susan Aitken is promoting the car restrictions

Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said: “We are not really sure what Glasgow City Council are trying to do, other than kill off trade in the city centre completely.

“Not happy with punishing people (customers, businesses & team members) with their LEZ regulations, & raking in large amounts on fines, they now want to punish business and consumers even more with their extra parking charges plan.

“There isn’t even good public transport to fall back on [in] Glasgow. Trains are unpredictable, late night public transport is the same, fewer taxis and a subway that closes at 6pm on a Sunday. Everyone home and in bed by 9pm.”

Dominic Tait, one of the two Glasgow brothers whose Valentian Vermouth is stocked in bars and restaurants across the city, asked: “Where in Europe is car free? The great European cities I visit regularly… Rome, Paris, Madrid, Palma, Florence, Turin etc all have huge numbers of cars [and] parking but they also have a proper metropolitan public transport network.

“This is deranged, pickled ideology and will destroy the city’s economy.”

He said the hospitality sector should refuse photo opportunities – ‘the classic pint pull’ – with politicians until they pledge to cut VAT and duty, reverse or improve the LEZ and parking restrictions and pass on rate relief.

Stephen Montgomery
Stephen Montgomery: not sure what the council is trying to do

“Could [I] also suggest a ban on holding events for politicians and political parties in venues until they provide appropriate support not hollow empty words.”

Mark Laing, head of engagement at PeoplePlus UK, said: “In a decade of crazy decisions this must win the award.

“I live in Glasgow City Centre it’s dead the majority of the week even Fridays are nowhere near as busy this will kill stonedead people coming into town for a meal, cinema, late night shopping it will kill businesses and cost jobs .

“No one in their right mind could think this is a good idea. It must be stopped.”

Ross Macleod, managing director of Macleod Lettings, said: “I’m fortunate in that I travel extensively throughout Europe, for pleasure. Cities visited in the last 24 months – Barcelona, Geneva, Warsaw, Krakow, Paris, Malaga, Rome, Milan & Lisbon to name a few. I don’t recall seeing any LEZ zones in these cities and cars, taxis and lorry’s buzzing around making the city ‘work’.

Barcelona
Critics say cities like Barcelona are far from being car-free

“Even those cities with world class transport facilities (which Glasgow doesn’t have) are buzzing with people arriving in taxis to explore, shop and eat out, with commercial vehicles servicing the many shops, bars & restaurants.

Sauchiehall Street
There is concern that the ban on cars will add to empty streets

“I don’t think Susan [Aitken] has been out of the city for a while and her plan for the city is in stark contrast to European cities. All of which I’ll say are cleaner than Glasgow, too.

“And I’d like to add that if NCP can function as a profitable business and charge less to park than GCC, surely this is a sign that GCC are ripping off its customers.”

David Syme, legal director at Scotsman Holdings, said: “It’s absolutely bonkers. If they’re trying to drive evening trade away from the city centre, this is a great way to achieve that.

“People have so many options outwith the city centre, whether the out of town shopping (and entertainment) centres or surrounding towns where there is more of a welcome to visitors.

“If I’m catching up with pals for dinner, sure as fate we won’t be spending £50+ between us to park our cars… we’ll go somewhere else.”

Ian Danskin, finance manager at Mr Squared Lasers, said: “We used to boast about the tourists brought to Glasgow as it was a shopping and hospitality destination. We seem to be doing our best to kill this off.”

Janet Hood, owner of Janet Hood Training and Consulting, said: “This will be the death knell of more businesses in the city – increase deprivation and unemployment- what are they thinking?”



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