Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Fears over impact on rise of car parking charges

Tariffs are to be standardised across the region, resulting in much increased charges in Fort William, Aviemore and Fort Augustus – where many car parks are free.
Tariffs are to be standardised across the region, resulting in much increased charges in Fort William, Aviemore and Fort Augustus – where many car parks are free.

Fears have been voiced that struggling businesses will be hit by hikes in car parking fees – with a minimum £1-an-hour charge to be introduced at all Highland Council sites.

Tariffs are to be standardised across the region, resulting in much increased charges in Fort William, Aviemore and Fort Augustus – where many car parks are free.

Some sites in Inverness will also be affected.

Susan Young, owner of Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in Aviemore, said she is “appalled” by the move.

“The councils are already killing the high streets and small shops – and this will be the final nail in the coffin,” she warned.

People will just go the retail parks instead because they are free.

“A minimum £1-an-hour is absolutely disgusting. We are going to lose business, without a shadow of a doubt. Footfall has dropped as it is. And the other thing is that my staff park in our nearest car park and, if they work five days, that’s going to cost them.”

Explaining the new tariff, Shane Manning, principal officer for traffic and parking, said that short stay sites will be £1-per-hour with no all-day parking.

Long-stay sites will be a maximum stay of 10 or 24 hours and will involve larger tariffs, including £5-£7 for a 24-hour stay.

Any additional car parks introduced by the local authority will follow this model, while there will be a separate all-day tariff for tourist/leisure related sites of £3 per day.

Councillor Ken Gowans said: “This shows little understanding by the administration of concerns raised by many local businesses who have a fragile existence throughout Highland.

“It lacks any strategic thinking at a time when the administration should be doing more to support our local enterprises rather than impose additional disincentives.

“Sadly, this is typically short-sighted.”

Stewart Nicol, of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, added: “The council obviously needs to raise revenue, but all decisions need to recognise the bigger impact.

“Substantial rises could have a negative impact and damage businesses and tourism.

“Rose Street car park in Inverness is a major city centre site and rises will impact on us who work in the city centre and those visiting as tourists or shoppers.”

Defending the increases, Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the environment, development and infrastructure committee, said: “I fully understand the concerns. No one ever wants to increase prices.

“But we have been living in the dark ages as far as parking in the Highlands goes. Down south we pay a vast amount of cash to park. But we have not gone for the exhorbitant charge as seen there. We believe they are reasonable.”

He added: “There are huge costs to keep these car parks going. If we need more car parks, to cater for visitors on NC500 and the west for example, we need to make this a revenue driven part of the council to pay for them.”

The change in tariff come after the budget decisions taken last month and aim to generate additional income of £1.01million.

Mr Manning said: “The tariffs proposed are still very competitive compared to both the private sector and other similar facilities provided in Highland and nationally.”

They are set to be introduced next month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]