A Moray businessman has warned shops in Elgin could be forced to close after lockdown due to the reintroduction of car parking charges.
Richard Cumming, the director of gents retail shop Sirology, said businesses feel council chiefs have a “vendetta” against them after announcing charges at the town’s 15 pay and display car parks will return next month.
Moray Council has argued the money earned from the charges would be “significant” as it tries to recover from the £5.5million pandemic cost.
In protest, Moray Chamber of Commerce co-signed a letter with Elgin Bid, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Visit Moray Speyside pleading for an extra six months of free parking to let firms find their feet.
Chief executive of Visit Moray Speyside, Laurie Piper, said the reintroduction of car parking charges was the “wrong thing at the wrong time”.
And Elgin Bid’s chief executive Gill Neil said the council’s decision caused “concerns” for their members.
Last night Mr Cumming added weight to the concerns and said: “It is disappointing that the chief executive of the Moray Council has the power, without consultation or thought for businesses in town centre.
“They are trying to recoup shortfall in income from areas such as leisure facilities which I totally understand.
“However why do Elgin businesses suffer in order to plug that gap while others who have facilities don’t.
“This will be the end of a number of businesses in Elgin who are currently fighting against the current trading conditions and influx to retail parks.
“It is about getting a balance but to implement the parking charges on top of the road closures and not even having the grace to have a pound a day which most would understand.”
Mr Cumming said he will start a petition if required as the parking charges put up a major barrier to tourists and locals coming to shop in Elgin town centre.