Under-used parking spaces may be made available for £1 a day

Permits for under-used car parks should be made available for the equivalent of £1 a day.

The Tele has learned that West End residents are calling for drivers to be offered year-long passes in a bid to alleviate parking pressure in the city suburbs.

It is claimed many city centre workers park in residential areas and walk or take the bus into town because the car parks in central Dundee are considered too expensive.

At present, parking for eight-hours a day in Bell Street car park will set motorists back £8.50.

Figures released in a Freedom of Information request revealed that 1,720 spaces lie empty each day between the Olympia, Greenmarket, West Bell Street, Gellatly Street, Dudhope Castle and Shore Terrace car parks.

A snapshot of city parking revealed that only 193 drivers parked in the 501-space capacity Olympia car park.

In Greenmarket, which offers 548 spaces, only 395 motorists had parked.

And in West Bell Street, just 520 of the 930 spaces were occupied.

A proposal has been drawn up to bring those spaces into use — which it is claimed would generate enough revenue to build another car park in the West End.

Under the plans, the top floors would be used for permit spaces at a cost of £365 a year.

West End councillor Richard McCready backed the proposal, which it is claimed could raise £627,800 for the city.

The proposal is to be discussed at a meeting of the West End Community Council on February 14.

The group wants to find a solution to long standing parking problems in the area.

Peter Menzies, chairman of the community council, said the empty car parking spaces seemed a terrible waste while the West End was constantly “under attack” from over parking.

He said: “These spaces could be used to take the pressure off the West End. We are working on what seems to be a very problematic situation.

“We want to get the ideal solution for everyone.

“There may be a trade-off for residents or for traders but it can’t be worse than it is now and we have got to work towards something.

“It’s just not good enough and not doing anything about it for five years is not acceptable.”

City councillors heard this week that businesses in the area have been forced to close because shoppers can’t find anywhere to park nearby while some residents can’t get their cars out their drives and garages due to people parking in the street all day while they attend work in the city.

At the council’s city development committee members agreed the parking problems should be addressed alongside the economic and retail issues in the area.

Councillor McCready said: “I welcome these proposals.

“We should be looking to see if it is possible to use all of the car parking resources of the council to solve the problem.

“We need to look at ideas from other places.

“Perhaps we could solve the problem by doing things a bit differently.

“This plan would also move parkers from the West End. I am glad that the council has agreed to take action around West End car parking.

“Discussions at meetings must lead to action.

“It seems to me that many of the standard approaches to car parking have been tried already.

“I think that there is a need for open minds which are prepared to think differently.

“We need to listen to local people about the problems with parking and listen to their ideas about the way forward.’

“We also need to engage with employers and organisations which generate large amounts of traffic such as Ninewells Hospital and the University of Dundee.”