Businesses in Paisley have launched a petition to save a parking initiative within the town centre. 

Business owners gathered outside Paisley's Town Hall with the petition that looks to save the 'Free for Three' parking scheme which was launched by the town’s Business Improvement District, Paisley First.

Organised by Paisley First, the petition aims to stop Renfrewshire Council scrapping the free parking scheme in the town centre after 10am from Monday to Saturday.

The Gazette:

With the pilot scheme extended over the last few years, there are now six car parks included in the scheme – Hunter Street upper and lower, Orchard Street, Weighhouse Close, Oakshaw, School Wynd and both car parks at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.

Business owners, Helena and William Brown both run a print shop in the town centre and said that they rely heavily on the parking.

Helena said: "It allows people to come into Paisley as the bus service is not very good. 

"They are able to use it for three hours every single day, and that is a lot to people which can allow them to do so much."

The Gazette: Paisley Town Hall

However, there are fears Free for Three parking is set to be scrapped which many say could impact the businesses in the area.

William highlighted how taking away the free parking initiative will drive people away from the town centre at a time that is relying on foot traffic. 

He said: "Taking it away just means that people will not come to the town centre as they struggle to park.

"Things are hard right now due to the cost of living and taking it away will be another disincentive for people."

Elaine Templeton, Chair of Paisley First, has highlighted how the parking initiative is not solely to blame for the reduction in revenue within the area.

She said: "This will impact our local businesses and our local communities, both already suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“The council recently claimed that an under-recovery of £1m was incurred between on and off-street parking income and fine recovery in the last financial year.

“However, the director of environment and infrastructure’s own report to the council’s Leadership Board in February 2020, stated that Free for Three only resulted in a 15% reduction in revenue, costing the council around £180,000 per year.

“So, it’s clear that factors other than Free for Three must be to blame for such a significant reduction."

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “A parking strategy for Renfrewshire is expected to be brought to the next Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board in November and we will engage with local businesses.

“At the last meeting in August, a projected £2.35million overspend was reported for the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Service in 2023-24, one of the main drivers being a loss of income from parking charges and a review of this issue was agreed by all councillors."