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Councillors undertake u-turn over car parking charges

First-hour free parking will be introduced in all pay and display car parks in Orkney from July 1.

The cost of parking your car in pay and display car parks in Orkney will be free for the first hour from July 1, Orkney Islands Council has decided this afternoon.

The council’s decision to increase parking charges by 50 per cent in March, at a time when many businesses are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, has been derided by the community and business owners.

Kirkwall BID proposed that councillors drop the £1.20 charge for the first hour and implement free first-hour parking in pay and display car parks in Orkney from May.

The changes will come into effect from July 1 and run throughout the summer until September 30. Winter rates, which already incorporate a first-hour free rate as standard, will come into effect from October 1 and run until April 30, 2022, meaning that you will be able to park your car for free for one hour in all pay and display car parks in Orkney until this time.

Charges of £2.70 for two hours and £5.70 for three hours will remain.

The council’s coronavirus response fund to support business recovering during the pandemic will be used to make up the expected £100,000 financial shortfall of the changes.

The proposal were supported unanimously by councillors.