Traders fear parking change will cost jobs

Queen Street, Peterhead
Queen Street, Peterhead

Drivers flouting existing parking restrictions in the town centre are costing traders £1,000s in lost revenue.

A number of stores on Queen Street are finding takings are down massively since Police Scotland axed traffic wardens.

Faced with substantial losses and no sign of any improvement, the management of one store admitted it could be the end of the line for them.

The businessperson, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are talking about our neighbouring traders who are doing their best to stop passing trafffic park in our main thoroughfare.

“I have witnessed three or four cars of staff parked all day on Queen Street - often in a disabled bay - and our drop-in trade is being hit hard.

“Lack of passing trade might be okay if you only deal in bookings and pre-arranged visits, but it’s killing us - and we won’t be alone in shutting if something’s not done about it soon.”

The same issue blighted the street several years ago, but careful policing by traffic wardens soon had traders and their staff moving to other parking spots.

But with the wardens now gone and plans drawn up to ‘decriminalise’ parking offences in Peterhead, there are fears matters will only get worse.

Staff at the Hame Bakery have also noticed a change and claimed that since the traffic wardens were dismissed, business has “not been the same”.

One member of staff said: “People seem to park wherever they like.

“All of us here would never park on the street all day but you look in the car parks nearby and they are all empty, people don’t want to pay to park.

“There should be some sort of scheme for businesses to pay cheaper rates for using the car parks.

“It has been worse since the St Peter Street car park was closed off and there are hardly any spaces when it is raining.”

“If customers can’t find a place to park they will end up going somewhere else.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “Under current legislation, the police are responsible for on-street parking in all parts of Scotland, except those designated as special parking areas.

“It is clearly up to Police Scotland how they wish to enforce parking legislation and they had indicated that all of their Traffic Wardens would be removed as of February 2014.

“They have also indicated they will enforce where there is a situation of dangerous parking and I would encourage all members of the public to report such instances to their local police by calling 101.

“The legal position will remain the case until a council applies for, and is granted, a special parking area designation which may take up to two years.

“It is difficult to see how a council like Aberdeenshire, which does not operate on-street parking charges, would be able to justify an application financially but we are considering the implications of moving towards a DecriminaIised Parking Enforcement (DPE) regime.”