A campaign to force a north-east council to reverse its controversial new parking charges has been launched.
A petition has been started in a bid to make Aberdeenshire Council bring back the free 30 to 60-minute parking option across its pay and display car parks.
The changes, which were approved in June’s infrastructure services committee meeting, came into force at the start of September.
Parking for up to an hour was previously free but now costs 50p. The altered rates only affect the pay and display car parks.
Josh Gall, 23, from Fyvie, started the petition. He said: “I was aware that the council had consulted with members of the public and business owners on the introduction of a fee for short-stay parking and scrapping the 30 minutes or one hour free parking session to close the gap on council deficits.
“I am aware that feedback was against this move. However, the council made the decision regardless. Driving is vital for a large majority of people in the north east and having that 30 to 60-minute free parking option was important to widening access to businesses and services in Aberdeenshire.
“As a driver myself, who lives 12 miles from my nearest town, I often made use of the free short-term parking for trips to the bank, post office, hair appointments, even popping into a local shop in my town’s high street to pick up some items.”
Josh said he was also inspired to do something after reading about Inverurie Whisky Shop owner Mike Stewart, who is offering parking refunds to his customers. He added: “It made me think of the wider implications of this move.
“I felt it was easy to sit and think about how awful it was, however, no change would ever happen unless someone tried to stand up for the local communities and businesses.
“So I started the petition hoping to receive enough signatures to then take it to my local councillor and see where it could go.”
Aberdeenshire Council said it doesn’t comment on live petitions.
Visit bit.ly/2nLTKBX to sign the petition.