Car parking changes: free after 3 is back and disabled parking will improve

Changes are to be made to car parking in Elgin, with a return of the ‘free after 3’ in St Giles multi-storey car park in the run-up to the festive period, as well as plans for improvements to disabled parking across Elgin.

Now in its fourth year, ‘Free after 3’ aims to improve footfall to shops in the centre of Elgin during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. Normal charges will apply in all other car parks.

It will come into effect from Saturday 8 December and run until Saturday 5 January, allowing shoppers to make the most of the free parking for getting last-minute Christmas gifts and post-Christmas sales.

Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said the benefits of the scheme will reach shoppers, business owners and retail staff: “There is a strong feeling from shop owners and staff that in previous years Free after 3 has been a real success, they have a noticeably increased footfall after 3pm in many stores.

“I’m pleased that we’re able to promote another Free after 3 campaign and look forward to seeing Elgin’s shops bustling.”

Planned improvements to disabled parking are intended to address concerns and issues flagged up by blue badge holders during a public consultation about the location and design of some disabled parking provision. Some of the issues raised include misuse of disabled bays, disabled parking spaces situated on a gradient, and other disabled parking spaces being too small and unsuitable for rear access.

Moray Council will improve siting and layout of disabled parking bays in both the St Giles Centre and Batchen lane car parks, to provide wider spaces where possible, and also provide dedicated spaces on the ground floor of St Giles Centre car park. Other car parks will see the number of blue badge spaces increase, and there will be additional on-road disabled parking bays situated in the centre of Elgin, on Thunderton Place, Batchen Lane and North Guildry Street.

Funding for these improvements will be allocated subject to councillors approving the upcoming 2019/20 revenue budgets.

Cllr Leadbitter confirmed his support for the planned improvements, saying: “I support these proposals and I’m grateful for the input of everyone who gave their time to give us their thoughts on disabled parking provision in Elgin.

“We’ll review the provision again in two years, to see if further improvements can be implemented.”