Free and Reduced Rate Parking Planned for Aberdeen City Centre

Free parking on Sundays and not charging drivers for the first 30 minutes are some of the proposals under consideration by a new council administration.

The new coalition between the Tories, former Labour councillors and Independents is considering a raft of proposals to deliver free and cheaper parking in the city.

A Town House source told the Evening Express the proposals aim to encourage people back into the city centre and make it less of “a hassle” to park.

The new administration has yet to reveal its shared policy document but it is understood the parking proposals will be included.

Measures being looked at include free parking on Sundays, free parking during the day for the first 30 minutes and £1 for the first hour after 6pm.

Other proposals under consideration include bringing the cost of parking down, as well as potentially reducing the cost of second parking permits and of commercial permits for businesses.

The proposals being considered are for off-street council car parks which usually charge on Sundays between 1pm and 5pm.

The source said parking proposals would need to be trialled first and the financial impact investigated.

Earlier this month Aberdeen City Council introduced a parking review, which will look at public and private sector parking, and how well the current provision of on and off-street parking fits with the local authority’s transport and land use plans.

The findings of the review will also be used in the development of any proposals put forward by the administration.

Talks have also taken place with businesses and council officers after Aberdeen Inspired proposed removing charges from council car parks during “twilight hours”.

It comes after NE1, Newcastle’s business improvement district team, gave a presentation showcasing its award-winning Alive After Five scheme.

Alive After Five is a scheme that has seen charges stop at Newcastle City Council’s car parks after 5pm in an effort to increase the number of people coming into the area.

Businesses extended their opening hours until 8pm as a result of the initiative.

Currently off-street pay and display car parks at Gallowgate, Frederick Street, Marischal College and Summer Street charge £1 for up to an hour and £2.20 for up to two hours, while a stay of two to three hours is £3.30 and three to four hours is £4.40.

Meanwhile, off-street pay and display at Chapel Street, Denburn, West North Street and Virginia Street can see tariffs of up to £6 for five to six hours, while 10-14 hours costs £14.

Commenting on the parking proposals, Adrian Watson, CEO of Aberdeen Inspired said: “Aberdeen Inspired is absolutely behind any council initiative that eases the parking charges in the city centre as this continues to be a very real issue for many of our city centre businesses and the wider public. A proposal that is balanced and allows for a relatively free flow of traffic, at key times, is to be welcomed.

“In the current operating environment, this is exactly the type of initiative that many of our city centre businesses are looking for.”

Michael Hutchison, SNP councillor for George Street/Harbour said: “Everyone knows that parking in the city is a mess and it appears that the administration may be using the SNP manifesto as a starting point from which to fix these – I’m sure the irony won’t be lost on the public.”