Sir, – It does not take a nuclear physicist to realise that if someone has to pay to park in A and not in B then they are more likely to park in B, so it follows that if the parking charges in the centre of Elgin are prohibitive then this only forces shoppers to go to the retail parks where – surprise, surprise – there are no parking charges.
If parking charges were to be introduced there, the first to complain would be the retailers and other business owners who would undoubtedly be up in arms at the impact this would have.
A town centre can only survive and prosper if it can sustain a good variety of quality shops, cafés, restaurants and other attractions to lure our very necessary shoppers to spend time meandering around the streets and alleys to find that hidden gem, and this can only be encouraged by favourable parking charges.
There is a direct connection between the circle of events that follows when parking and other overheads impact on a town centre business.
The costs of locating in the centre of town, including parking costs, can at worst close a business down. There then lies an empty shop or office, no rates being generated and so less income for the council’s coffers; a decision is made to introduce parking charges at Lossie Green and an increase in the car park rates to try and claw back some revenue. This backfires and the revenue from parking falls.
As a result of the recent reduction in charges prior to Christmas, many customers mentioned the fact that this had helped them to spend more time in town, and I certainly noticed an increase in footfall in my own business.
It appears to me that councillors from outwith Elgin should not sit in on a meeting to make judgements on parking charges which impact directly on the viability of the heart of the largest town in Moray, as this could be construed as a ploy to avoid the introduction of parking charges in their own town.
It was encouraging to read in ‘The Northern Scot’ last week that Upland Developments and the Robertson Group are proposing an extension to the St Giles Centre, which shows a huge vote of confidence in the centre of Elgin.
It would be a real shame if this were to turn out to be a white elephant and if their support for the town was not reciprocated by a review of the parking charges which has been proven to increase the footfall.
This should not be delayed, as on a regular basis shops and offices are disappearing from the heart of our once vibrant market town. – Yours etc,
Sound and Vision (Elgin) Ltd,
14-18 South Street,