Local businesses have urged members of the public and local politicians of all parties to help Save Free Parking for Three Hours in Paisley town centre.
At a photocall outside Paisley’s Town Hall, the petition to save and extend the Free for Three Parking pilot scheme was officially launched by the town’s Business Improvement District, Paisley First.
Following a campaign launched by Paisley First five years ago, a pilot project was set up in the town centre, offering three hours of Free Parking after 10am Mondays to Saturdays.
The campaign came to life following a U-turn on proposed parking charges for Johnstone and Renfrew on the basis that it would be “bad for local businesses”.
As this pilot scheme has been extended during the last few years, there are now six car parks included in the scheme – Hunter Street Upper and Lower, Orchard Street, Weighhouse Close, Oakshaw, School Wynd and both car parks at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.
But following the recent announcement that a review of parking was to be undertaken, there are fears Free for Three parking is set to be scrapped.
Chair of Paisley First, Elaine Templeton, said: “This will impact our local businesses and our local communities, both already suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis.
“The council recently claimed that an under recovery of £1M was incurred between on and off street parking income and fine recovery in the last financial year.
“However, the Director of Environment & Infrastructure’s own report to the council’s Leadership Board in February 2020, stated that Free for Three only resulted in a 15% reduction in revenue, costing the council around £180,000 per year.
“So, it’s clear that factors other than Free for Three must be to blame for such a significant reduction.
“We have provided the council with letters of support for Free for Three from 130 local businesses as well as recent research undertaken that shows 60% of those who come into Paisley do so by car.
“We have also provided survey responses from members of the public to Renfrewshire Council which evidences that three hours of free parking encourages people to visit Paisley, rather than Braehead, Silverburn or the Wallneuk Development.
“As part of this survey – 93.11% of respondents said Free for Three has encouraged them to visit Paisley more often, 98.20% believe it should be rolled out to all town centre car parks and 81.79% admit they would visit Paisley less often if Free for Three parking was no longer available in Paisley town centre.”
Elaine added: “Many local businesses have been told by their customers that they simply could not afford to add the price of parking onto their visits to Paisley and would go elsewhere if Free for Three parking was no longer available.
“If members of the local community were tasked with having
1 County Place
Paisley PA1 1BN
Tel: 0141 237 8120
Email: email@example.com www.paisleyfirst.com
to pay a charge of, say £6 for example, for three hours parking in Paisley to shop or socialise, as opposed to being able to park for free in Johnstone, Renfrew, Braehead or Silverburn, you would understand why they might feel they have no choice financially but to go elsewhere.”
“Local businesses are already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, but the loss of Free for Three parking in Paisley town centre is likely to have a devastating impact on many small and independent businesses, the heartbeat of our community.
“Please give your support and sign our petition to save Free for Three Parking and our town centre.”
You can sign the petition digitally at www.paisleyfirst.com