Free parking scheme extended in Paisley town centre

Pilot scheme gives visitors free parking for three hours.

Free parking scheme extended in Paisley town centre Getty Images

A pilot scheme which gives visitors to Paisley town centre free parking for three hours will be extended for six months.

The Free for Three initiative – originally devised by business improvement district Paisley First to help local businesses – will remain in place at six car parks until March.

There were plans to extend the scheme back in March but data showing its effect could not be collected due to lockdown, while council car parks becoming free between March 27 and August 17 also had an impact.

Councillors agreed to the extension on Wednesday but it was debated whether more car parks should be included.

Sites where the scheme is active include Orchard Street, School Wynd, Weighhouse Close, Hunter Street, and Oakshaw.

Councillor Eileen McCartin said: “When this was discussed before you may recall I was concerned about all the other car parks in the town. My concern is, do we really need another six months?

“I’ve experienced it and it seems to work really well. I would like to see it rolled out to other car parks much quicker. I feel there are an awful lot of people missing out on some free parking.”

Calls have been made by Paisley First to include other car parks or reintroduce free on and off-street parking until March, insisting a simple extension of the scheme was “no longer an option”, with other towns missing out.

The council has previously intimated introducing free parking again or extending Free for Three to other sites would have “financial and logistical implications”, including the installation of new meters.

Bosses have said the data is required from the pilot to inform any future changes.

Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We need the data to support any changes we might think are required to support businesses in Paisley going forward.

“Changes have to be underpinned by real data and the council needs to make value-based decisions on it.

“We are listening to what people are saying on it.”

Story by local democracy reporter Stephanie Brawn

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