TOWNSPEOPLE have hit out after it emerged cash generated by the introduction of controversial parking charges in Johnstone and Renfrew will be injected into improvements in Paisley.

The Gazette previously revealed how proposals by Renfrewshire Council chiefs to charge motorists up to £2.90 to leave their cars in Johnstone and Renfrew town centres have caused uproar in the community.

The council claims the move would bring more shoppers to the area.

A £1.1m investment to introduce the new car parking changes in Renfrewshire will be funded by the local authority’s service modernisation and reform fund.

This includes around £800,000 to fully replace and upgrade the parking meter stock in Paisley.

However, only £300,000 will go towards the introduction of pay and display parking in Renfrew and Johnstone – sparking fury amongst community chiefs.

Allan Henderson of the Johnstone Business Consortium (JBC), has blasted the plans which he has branded as “a non starter” if they went ahead.

He said: “This is completely unfair and the whole idea of parking charges needs to be completely abolished in Johnstone.

“Clearly the people in Johnstone and Renfrew will not benefit from this at all – there’s no doubt about that.

“Shops will only shut and there’s no way our towns will have any financial gain from it.”

It is estimated the arrangements in Johnstone and Renfrew could generate additional net income of around £260,000 per annum.

However, Mr Henderson doubts much of the cash will filter back into the two towns, and is more likely to benefit in Paisley.

He said: “I would be absolutely furious if these plans went ahead as no one wants it.

“Our petition has only been set up for a few days and we already have well more than 1,000 signatures.

“In all my time in the town I have never known such a strong feeling against anything like this.

“We are prepared to campaign until this is abolished.”

A public meeting was staged last night by Johnstone Community Council in conjunction with JBC to discuss the plans, which were approved earlier this month.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “The approved changes to current parking provisions will see parking meters upgraded to accept a variety of payment methods, making it easier for visitors to park in spaces across Renfrewshire.

“The changes are also designed to bring more people into our town centres through generating a turnover of short stay parking spaces, which will allow visitors the opportunity to utilise spaces which may currently be taken up by long stay parking.

“Any income generated from the introduction of car parking charges in Johnstone and Renfrew will offset the initial investment in modernising the parking arrangements across Renfrewshire and subsequently be re-invested in essential council services.

“Before car parking charges are introduced, an impact assessment is being conducted which will include determining the best use and placement of pay and display meters.”

The petition to stop parking charges and meters in Johnstone and Renfrew can be found at