Meter running for Shawlands

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SOUTHSIDERS and business owners have hit out at Glasgow city council plans to quadruple parking charges on Kilmarnock Road.

It was revealed this week that parking meters on the busy Shawlands main street will charge 80p an hour instead of the current 20p, as of December 6.

Kilmarnock Road is one of 30 city streets to be affected — but residents argue that the move goes against the council’s recent £3.3 million investment in the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan.

Tony Halifax, chair of Shawlands and Strathbungo community council, told The Extra: “To do something like this after a £3m investment to get Shawlands moving again is irresponsible and will not help growth.

“There hasn’t been any consultation with the community council, and although 80p isn’t much, it may mean that shoppers head elsewhere.

“It’s the one thing the public can do without as everyone’s budget is under strain, and the council are showing a lack of awareness by implementing it.”

According to business owner Adele Cowan, who runs Adele’s Party Shop, local shops had received word of free Sunday parking in the five weeks leading up to Christmas — but not about the increased charges Monday to Saturday.

She said: “The Arcade car park — where you only get an hour free — has caused real problems already, and it’s so much more difficult to park in Shawlands now.

“The side streets suffer because of it, and the situation is getting more ridiculous.

“We’ve seen a huge decline in footfall since we opened almost four years ago — to increase parking charges now is disgraceful.”

Readers took to The Extra’s Facebook and Twitter pages this week to complain (see letters, p28) — but a council spokesman defended the decision, stating that charges had not increased on the Shawlands street since 2004, and that the new tariff is “realistic about current car use and supporting businesses”.

He added: “As part of the town centre action plan, the council experimented with free parking in the run up to Christmas last year.

“We are bringing it back again this year to bring people into the area and away from out-of-town shopping centres.”

nWhat do you think? Share your thoughts by emailing Gillian (address above).