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CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth MSP, Jamie Hepburn has lodged a formal objection with North Lanarkshire Council in his response to its consultation on parking charges in Kilsyth, Croy and Cumbernauld, and he is urging local residents to do the same.
Mr Hepburn has consistently campaigned against parking charges in the area, having lobbied for no charges at the Croy Park and Ride facility, throughout its development. Despite strong political and residential campaigning, North Lanarkshire Council pressed ahead with the introduction of charges at railway stations and town centre car parks, it controls, including King Street and Airdrie Road in Kilsyth and Croy, Cumbernauld and Greenfaulds Stations.
North Lanarkshire Council have launched a formal consultation on the issue and is accepting responses until Wednesday 22nd June. Whilst, the consultation has been ongoing a Facebook group, with over 500 people, including Jamie, opposing the introduction of charges in Kilsyth town centre, has started to spread.
Jamie’s response to the consultation outline a number of concerns brought to him by local residents about the impact of the charges as well as highlighting the widespread opposition among the community to the plans.
In his consultation response, Jamie Hepburn MSP writes: “It is clear from correspondence that I have received from a large number of constituents in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth that local opinion is firmly against the introduction of parking charges at off-street and railway station car parks in the area. For several years I have been raising my own concerns about this possibility, since it became clear that charges were being considered for the new Park and Ride Facility at Croy Station.
“Concerns expressed by my constituents, which I share, include the detrimental impact that charges will have on the number of customers and therefore the viability of local businesses; the impact of the costs on household budgets, and the lack of any discounted options for regular users; the lack of alternative public transport for short journeys and the risk of increasing private vehicle use for longer commuter journeys.”
Commenting, Jamie Hepburn MSP added: “It’s clear that these parking charges are not wanted by people in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, or indeed most of North Lanarkshire. Nearly 500 people signed up their opposition to the Kilsyth plans on Facebook in a matter of days – that shows the strength of feeling on the ground.
“There is a very strong case against introducing these charges. Many local businesses are fearful about the risks to Kilsyth town centre, and fail to see the logic of introducing these charges after the Council has spent time and money improving the Main Street.
“The charges will hit household budgets hard during a time of economic difficulty, and might make it less attractive for people to consider using the Park and Ride facilities and making their commute by train – putting more pressure on roads and causing congestion.
“North Lanarkshire Council still has time to reverse its decision and I hope even at this late stage it will see sense.”
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