Aug 4 2010 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Town centre parking charges being considered for Coatbridge and Airdrie
DRIVERS could soon have to begin paying to park their vehicles in busy parts of Airdrie and Coatbridge under a new transport strategy.
North Lanarkshire Council is looking into the introduction of car parking charges to help encourage town centre shoppers and visitors at the expense of commuters and workers.
Planning committee members endorsed the document’s proposals last Wednesday, and members of Coatbridge local area partnership received an update on the proposal at their recent meeting.
A consultation process will now take place before the implementation of any tariffs as part of a three-year programme.
Councillors rejected the suggested introduction of parking charges as a revenue raiser just eight months ago when setting the annual budget.
However, they now see a need to review the authority’s “free and unrestricted use” policy due to the volume of its use for long-stay parking.
The transport document, which identifies town centre parking as one of its five key issues, recommends “considering the feasibility of introducing a parking charging regime in certain town centre areas, including measures to inhibit overspill into surrounding residential areas”.
It states: “The town centres of Airdrie, Coatbridge and Motherwell are used as informal park and ride sites by people travelling by train, as well as by people working [there] who are able to park free of charge all day.
“People wishing to use local shops and services therefore often find it difficult to find short-stay parking spaces within the town centres.
“This pattern is having a detrimental effect on the viability of local shops and the local economy; congestion in town centres is, in many cases, exacerbated by parking patterns and the unrestricted nature of provision.”
Coatbridge councillors were told: “Measures that are likely to be included are ... restrictions on length of stay and the introduction of charging mechanisms.
“In order to deliver an effective parking management strategy, an off- and on-road town centre parking charge regime would require to be introduced.
“A residents’ parking scheme will also have to be introduced in some town centres where displaced commuter and local worker parking could cause problems in adjacent residential streets.
“It is recognised that if parking charges are set too high it may reduce the attractiveness of our town centres for shopping trips, so a number of different charging regimes will be considered.”
The report added that there are 28 public car parks in Coatbridge, providing a combined total of 3861 spaces including 143 disabled bays.
Eleven facilities are identified as being in the town centre including the 999 spaces at Coatbank Street serving Faraday retail park, Dunbeth Road for the Quadrant Centre and South Circular Road for Asda.