Town centre parking was a hot topic at East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet meeting earlier this week, as elected members debated a number of proposals relating to car parking provision in and around Kilmarnock town centre.
Members had previously agreed a number of proposals as part of the Transformational Review of Parking in March 2020, but implementation had been delayed as a consequence the pandemic. Members reflected on the impact COVID-19 has had on parking trends during the pandemic and agreed it would be prudent to take more time to allow for behaviours and parking demand to settle as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted before making any further changes to parking arrangements in the town centre.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council explained: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the footfall of Kilmarnock town centre as restrictions limited journeys to only essential activities, and the majority of people were working from home. As a result, our streets and car parks remained almost empty for the duration of the lockdown. And even now, with some sort of normality is being restored, we are still seeing lower occupancy levels in the car parks.
“It’s only right, therefore, that we take the time to reflect on, and fully assess, the impact the pandemic has had on local business and the shift in parking patterns in and around the town centre to ensure our arrangements accurately reflect local need and demand, but we will keep matters under review, and will do whatever we can to bring business back into our town centres.
“Therefore, we have agreed to defer a number of proposals including the ‘free after 3’ parking scheme, amendments to the charging period and the introduction of the residents’ parking schemes, and these will be subject to further consultation and consideration on the future.”
Cabinet also agreed to create 12 new on-street pay and display parking bays with a 2 hour maximum stay in Seaford Street; to extend on-street pay and display Zone A to Grange Street and to increase the business parking permit price by 10% for the current year.
Members agreed that, regrettably, there was no longer a pressing requirement to consult the public on match day parking restrictions at Rugby Park.
Full details of the report and consultations can be found on the Council’s website.