Budget clamp means end of free Falkirk parking

Charges are being changed to encourage motorists to use West Bridge Street car park''Picture: Michael Gillen
Charges are being changed to encourage motorists to use West Bridge Street car park''Picture: Michael Gillen

Motorists face a double hit in the pocket after Falkirk Council raised parking charges – and ended its ‘Free After Three’ initiative.

The cost of leaving your vehicle in a local authority car park rose by 30p on April 6. The move was rubber stamped by councillors at this year’s budget meeting in February.

At the same time, it was agreed to end free parking after 3 p.m. in all council-run car parks.

It also appears likely that the popular free festive parking initiative will end as the local authority attempts to manage its finances.

However, in a bid to encourage more people to use it, the cost of the West Bridge Street car park in front of the Municipal Buildings and Town Hall has changed to bring it into line with the nearby Garrison Place short/long stay parking.

When charges were introduced in the autumn motorists looked elsewhere for parking but the local authority said it has brought in valuable income.

A council spokesman said: “Parking charges were introduced on November 3 last year and a total of £12,421 has been collected to date.”

In its budget document, Falkirk Council stated that removing the two free parking initiatives “would increase income to the council by £79,000 annually”.

It added: “The view is that the impact on service income should these initiatives be continued is unsustainable.”

Falkirk was reportedly the first Scottish town to bring in a scheme allowing free parking later in the day.

The proposal came from Think Falkirk, an independent retailer and town centre group set up to look at ways the council and its partners could boost the trading environment.

The pilot initially ran until December but was extended until March 31.

Making and installing the signs cost £4500 with another £500 spent taking them down.

When they agreed to it going ahead last year, councillors were warned it could lose over £53,000 in annual income.