Council review

Glasgow’s 10pm parking extension ‘put on hold’

Stuart Patrick
Concern: Stuart Patrick of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (pic: Terry Murden)

A plan to extend car parking charges in the centre of Glasgow to 10pm has been put on hold, according to council sources.

The decision to defer a decision, if confirmed, will be welcomed by bar and restaurant owners and those working in theatres and late-night retail outlets. A number of businesses have today signed a joint letter to the council calling for a rethink.

The proposal to charge for on-street parking after 6pm was included in the council’s three-year budget last month and sparked an angry response from those who said it would deter customers from coming into the city centre in the evening.

The changes would require a Traffic Regulation Order and a consultation period, meaning they could not be introduced until 2026 at the earliest.

According to local sources, even that timescale has been abandoned and the extension has effectively been kicked into the long grass.

Council leader Susan Aitken said that the extension was under review after the council listened to businesses.

An SNP Group spokesperson told the Glasgow Times: “There’s been an assumption that the standardisation of evening parking charges was being introduced immediately. That was never the case. It had been planned for introduction next year at the earliest. 

“But having listened to the concerns of businesses we’re now keeping these charges within the city centre under review and will refer the phasing of its introduction back to the cross-party budget working group.”

The parking strategy is part of a plan to reshape the city centre to make it more pedestrian-friendly and cut emissions.

News of the review comes as 13 organisations and businesses including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Unite Hospitality announced they had penned a joint letter expressing concern over the potential repercussions of the plan on businesses and hospitality workers citywide.

The collective plea follows a survey published last week and conducted by FSB and SHG which showed 97% of the respondents across Glasgow fear that the proposed extension would be detrimental to their business.

More than half (54%) said they would have to cut staff hours, 50% said staffing would be cut, while 53% would consider relocating their business.

While acknowledging the immense financial pressure facing the Glasgow City Council, the joint letter highlights the extremely challenging trading conditions for hospitality businesses in the city and the potential adverse effect on the safety of workers and customers.

It also warns that the proposed parking charges could lead to a loss of hundreds of jobs in bars, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs and potential closures of many otherwise viable businesses throughout the city.

“The ripple effect could jeopardise the livelihoods of the supply chains of these businesses as well. We simply cannot let this happen.”

Last week the council issued a statement saying: “Changes to pay and display hours in parking zones were agreed as part of a budget that required to find £107m worth savings from council services over the next three years.

“The longstanding approach with parking controls has been to prioritise parking for residents in the city’s 22 parking zones.

“By standardising parking hours across all zones we are aiming to provide the maximum benefit for permit holders seven days a week.

“A significant majority of people already come into the city centre by public transport and other forms of sustainable transport.

“Current data shows the city centre is busier in the evening and at the weekend than before the pandemic with people attracted to the centre for entertainment, food and drink.”

The letter to the council was signed by:

Stephen Montgomery, Director & Spokesperson – Scottish Hospitality Group

Hisashi Kuboyama, Development Manager – Federation of Small Businesses

Michael Bergson, Director – Buck’s Bar

Michael Grieve, Chairman – Night Time Industries Association Scotland

Brian Kelly, Chair – Possilpark Business Improvement District

Jonny McDonald, Chair – My Shawlands Business Improvement District

Stuart Patrick CBE, Chief Executive – Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Bryan Simpson, Lead Organiser – Unite Hospitality

Leon Thompson, Executive Director – UK Hospitality Scotland

Paul Togneri, Senior Advisor – Scottish Beer & Pub Association

John Turner, Chair – Byres Road & Lanes Business and Improvement District

Alessandro Varese, Director – Blue Lagoon Fish & Chip Shops LTD

Colin Wilkinson, Managing Director – Scottish Licensed Trade Association

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