The Inverurie Business Association (IBA) has voiced concerns about Aberdeenshire Council’s proposed review of off-street car parking tariffs, part of which may include replacing the free 30-minute parking with a parking charge.
Supporting the retail businesses in the town is key to the IBA, and they believe that the potential loss of free car parking in the town could have a negative impact on the town’s retail trade.
Ian Sinclair, We Are Inverurie, Inverurie’s Business Improvement District (BID) Chairman said: “With High Streets struggling to compete with online shopping, it’s important for the shops that people are encouraged to come to the town – doing away with the free parking charges can only have a negative impact.”
Given that the Inverurie off-street council parking generates a surplus under the current short-term free parking arrangement, the IBA were surprised to learn of the proposal being considered by Aberdeenshire Council.
Victoria Withy, IBA Chairperson added: “The IBA is disappointed as we feel that removing the free parking tariff in the town will send a negative message to people throughout in the area who want to shop locally and support local businesses. There is also the risk of changing shopping behaviour and driving people away from local towns to out-of-centre shopping centres offering free parking or to online shopping.”
She continued: “Towns who want to emulate Inverurie’s success in attracting visitors with 30-minute free parking will have a greater task on their hands if no free parking is available.”
Aberdeenshire councillors will vote on the proposal in January.