In the recent “Aberdeen Parking Permits To Hit Garthdee Residents” article Aberdeen Voice looked at how the elected councillors and paid officials of the Granite City have seemingly decided to use the easy option of targeting car parking to make a bit of cash.
Since then more information has emerged to back up this assertion and a further residents meeting has taken place to discus the issues involved.
Aberdeen Council also had a meeting to discuss the matter.
In typical council speak it was called something like “EPI Committee Meeting 12/11/2013.”
If you had been fortunate enough to be there, you might have heard Cllr Mrs Angela Taylor saying that it was “unfortunate” that the previous administration had misled the residents over the fact that they might have to pay for parking permits in the future.
This in many Garthdee and indeed many Kaimhill residents’ eyes, raises some quite serious questions regarding the validity and legality of the proposed CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) charges.
Said one resident:
“what difference does it make which administration put the parking restrictions in place, if they are wrong then surely that is the important thing.”
“I can understand folk in the centre of town having to put up with this” said another “but in Garthdee? I know we have a student parking issue but to be honest that’s not a huge problem. RGU have been offering to pay to sort it out, why don’t the council just tell the officials to talk to them?”
The financial implications for the people of Garthdee and Kaimhill are clear. Pay up to £200 each year to park outside your own door of face a fine of £60 per day.
This is an area of mixed fortunes.
Only around 49% of houses in Garthdee are owner occupied.
The rate of car crime is higher than the city average. The rate of vandalism is double the rate for the South of Aberdeen City.
Garthdee has a 2% unemployment total compared to the Aberdeen average rate of 1.6% plus a higher than average claim rate for Severe Disablement Allowance leading to calls from relatives of disabled residents to scrap the unfair charge.
Garthdee is not in the same league as some other Aberdeen inner city deprived areas, but it is certainly not as affluent as the adjoining Morningside where, just 100 metres away across the Old Royal Deeside Railway line residents are, until now, blissfully unaffected by any threat of parking restrictions.
Aberdeen City Council are of course looking to curb expenditure and in these times of economic distress are perhaps understandably looking to take in revenue wherever they can.
It’s no real surprise then that according to EPI Committee Report EPI/13/203 the council makes a hefty surplus (council speak for profit) on parking charges city wide.
Figures suggest that in recent years income from parking fees has totalled around £6.4 per annum with around £3.5m in costs. The resulting surplus of £2.8m has been used seemingly for “various transport projects throughout the city.”
Is this legal? Possibly. Is this moral? Possibly not.
“Who can tell in the absence of a judicial review?” said one resident?
What is certain is that the residents of Garthdee stand to lose a fair chunk of their disposable income due the decision of their elected representatives to impose a parking charge tax which many feel is not only quite unfair but also completely unjust.
The poorer residents of Garthdee will of course be particularly affected and many local folk are angry at the seemingly uncompromising stance of those whom they elected to represent their interests. Many feel that this situation must be rectified and rectified very soon.
RGU (Robert Gordons University) have been blamed for causing the problem due to the expiry of a claimed “10 year agreement” which the council seem reluctant to re-negotiate. RGU has helpfully published a map which advises students where to purchase parking tickets and suggests streets available to park in within the city.
Many residents of Aberdeen will wonder why their elected representatives are seemingly targeting the poor and vulnerable. Many will just shake their heads and say “it doesn’t affect me.”
In situations such as this it is often useful to recall the words of Pastor Martin-Niemöller:
“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
If this situation resonates with you then consider contacting your local Aberdeen councillor to ask if they have any views on the issue.
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