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Revealed: The Elgin car park where you’re most likely to get a fine

Figures published by Moray Council show their own staff car parks account for 22% of all fines issued.

Parking pay and display machine at staff Moray Council car park.
Staff have to pay £2 per day to park at Moray Council headquarters in Elgin. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Figures published by Moray Council have revealed almost one in four parking fines issued in Elgin are in their own staff car parks, making them among the most-fined sites.

Pay and display charges were introduced at headquarters five years ago as part of efforts to bank extra cash to balance the books.

However, now it has emerged council wardens are raking in even more money by issuing tickets to potentially hundreds of employees a year.

Statistics published in response to a freedom of information request show that 643 fines were issued in the council’s staff car parks at Greyfriars Street and the HQ annexe.

The total represents 22.3% of all parking fines issued by Moray Council in Elgin in 2022 and 2023 combined.

Moray Street had the most fines in Elgin with 510 over the two years.

Union representatives though fear employees are being “unfairly targeted” in patrols and say they will raise the issue with bosses.

However, Moray Council says the number of fines are proportionate to how much the car parks are used and has stressed there is signage in place to remind drivers about the charges. .

Why do Elgin staff car parks have among highest number of parking fines?

The Greyfriars Street and HQ annexe car parks in Elgin town centre are for solely for Moray Council staff from Monday to Friday.

Previously, they were both free for employees to use but a £1 daily charge, which increased to £2 just last month, was introduced to help balance the books.

Staff have exclusive use of the spaces on a pay-and-display basis during the week but they can be used by members of the public on Saturdays. All car parks in Elgin are free on Sundays.

However, the figures published by Moray Council do not show the day of the week the parking fine was issued.

Pay and display machine at Moray Street in Elgin.
Moray Street had the most number of fines in Elgin. Image: DC Thomson

Union Unison opposed the introduction of charges, believing they treated Elgin staff unfairly compared to personnel in other locations.

Branch secretary Janis Donaldson said: “Unison Moray strongly opposed staff car parking charges at the time and still do as it is felt this puts staff working in the centre of Elgin at detriment to other Moray Council employees.

“Based on the figures supplied and given the data on fines issued by Moray Council, Unison Moray are concerned that it appears staff car parks are being targeted.

“We intend to raise this with the council on behalf of our members.”

Moray Council told the Press and Journal the percentage of fines in the two staff car parks is proportionate to the income generated from them.

A spokeswoman added: “Council staff are made aware that council car parks are subject to Traffic Regulation Orders and officers will take action against any vehicles which do not have a tickets and are not parked appropriately.

“There are signs in the car parks about the charges and payment can be made via the machines in the car parks or via the parking app. The car parks are open to the public at the weekends.”

Elgin car park fines: Fast facts

  • Moray Council banked £90,375 from parking fines in 2022 and £76,444 in 2023.
  • There were 1,572 tickets issued in 2022 and 1,304 tickets issued in 2023.
  • Moray Street and North Port in the town centre both have a high turnover of vehicles during the day.
  • Lossie Green and Batchen Lane are the two biggest car parks but have a lower turnover of cars during the day.
  • The busiest month for parking fines in both years was November.
  • The quietest month for fines in 2022 was December and in 2023 it was February.
  • Moray Council also issued one fine at Keith railway station in 2022 and one at both Cluny Square in Buckie and Cumming Street in Forres in 2023. Parking is free at these locations but still subject to rules covering disabled bays and the types of vehicles permitted.

Crackdown coming on illegal parking

This month Moray Council agreed to pay for police overtime to enforce parking rules outside of the authority’s pay-and-display car parks.

Repeated concerns have been raised about cars mounting pavements, parking on double yellow lines and driving on the Plainstones.

Elgin High Street busy with parked cars.
There are concerns about illegal parking on streets in Elgin town centre. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

Enforcing offences on streets is solely the responsibility of the police. However, the force says they do not have the manpower to provide a consistent response.

Figures published by the police show officers only issued 130 fines in the town centre during the whole of 2023.

When the Press and Journal monitored illegal parking, 14 cars were spotted on pavements with 17 on double yellow lines in just five hours.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised that increased parking charges in Moray Council’s pay-and-display car parks this year could lead to more pressures on street parking.

Revealed: How many parking tickets police REALLY issue in Elgin