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Moray Council parking plan stalls

By Staff Reporter

A PLAN to introduce parking permits for Moray Council staff at HQ car parks has hit the barrier.

Councillors agreed to introduce a permit system for staff parking at the Greyfriars Street and Annexe car parks as part of budget talks, held last September.

Unions slammed the decision and said it was "yet another attack" on a demoralised and overworked staff.

This week, the proposal was sent back to the drawing board after being rejected by members of the council's economic development and infrastructure services committee.

By 6 votes to 4, members backed a move by Councillor Marc Macrae (Fochabers/Lhanbryde) to instead consult on a £1-per-day Pay & Display ticket charge for local authority staff using the two HQ car parks.

The issue will now return to a full meeting of Moray Council.

Under the proposal, a £20 monthly fee was to be charged to permit holders for the 190 spaces.

They would be allocated to the 845 employees based in the HQ campus on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, objections were raised during statutory consultation on the proposal, which took place throughout April.

Of 152 responses, 88 were opposed, 31 neutral, 21 supportive of charging staff but not to the specific proposal and 12 were supportive.

Responses were also received from both the Unison and Unite unions.

Cllr Macrae argued officers underestimated the "administrative burden" of the permit scheme, which he described as an unfair system.

Council leader Graham Leadbitter (Elgin City South), who backed the permit proposal, called for Cllr Macrae to suggest alternative funding options when the issue is next discussed.

"A number of budget decisions have been taken within the last couple of months which have reduced the amount being found in the budget and that has significant consequences for next year's budget. I think if people are keen to overturn budget decisions, then we need alternatives," he said.

Cllr Macrae said he would work with any councillor in order to put options on the table.

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