Let me be very clear I support residents’ parking schemes for people who live on the periphery of the city centre. I know as a resident in the West End and a local councillor that people are frustrated that they cannot find a car parking space close to their house.
I am glad that at the meeting of the City Development Committee on Monday evening that the proposals put forward by the SNP Administration were amended. The proposals put forward were designed to fail. Along with my ward colleague Bailie Macpherson I amended the proposals so that there will be meaningful consultation on them. I also think that it is important that the consultation includes the issue of cost. The previous proposals were rejected due to the cost being too high at £80. I understand that £62 is slightly cheaper but I still worry that it is too much to pay and still not be guaranteed a car parking place at all never mind close to your house.
I also know that as well as the cost people rejected previous proposals because they were a one-size-fits-all proposal. The proposals before the council on Monday evening were a one-size-fits-all. I think that the solution is for more bespoke fixes rather than a blanket scheme across large areas of the city.
My amendment was designed to help implement this policy. The proposals suggest that the way to lodge an objection is by objecting to the Traffic Regulation Order. This is not the way to gauge public opinion on this matter. People who are in favour of residents’ parking scheme might object to the specific detail of the Traffic Regulation Order and therefore be counted as an objector to the scheme. That is surely not what was intended.
I am clear that in the areas near the city centre there is an issue that local residents would like to see dealt with. Local councillors who I have spoken to all recognise that this is an issue. I want to help the council and the people in Maryfield, Coldside and the West End wards get a policy that will work.
The report presented on Monday night says that this policy should be brought forward on a cost neutral basis. That is not the policy of the council, it may be the preference of the SNP Administration. The council has other parking schemes which do not work on that basis. In Menzieshill there is a residents' car parking scheme which costs £8 per year. I cannot see any justification that would suggest that the West End, Coldside or Maryfield wards should be different.
This is why I think that a full and meaningful consultation must also consult on the cost of the scheme. This committee should be presented with a number of alternatives.
Dundee City Council is currently pointing out how marvellous consultation is. Dundee Decides is being held up as a great innovation. I want to argue for more consultation on budgets. I am also clear that this policy will fail if there is not a full and meaningful consultation on it. Whilst I am pleased about the result of the meeting on Monday evening I will be watching to make sure that the consultation is as full and meaningful as it can be.
I would also point out that there was nothing in the report presented to the committee which aims to reduce the reliance on the motor vehicle. I suspect all of us rely on the car too much, and I include myself in that. I think that any plan for a residents’ car parking scheme needs to look at demand and find ways to reduce it.
I want to help Dundee City Council get to the point where we have a residents’ car parking scheme which works for people in the West End, Coldside and Maryfield wards. I do not think that the proposal presented by the Convener on Monday evening would have achieved that and therefore I was pleased that the committee agreed to support the amendment put forward.