PLANS to standardise parking charges across Aberdeenshire could scupper any hopes of securing a free half hour period in Huntly.
The review of charges was discussed at an infrastructure services meeting last week and the administration group moved to begin formal consultation on a proposal to increase parking charges – removing the current free period where it exists.
But opposition councillors want the free parking period retained across the 'Shire and succeeded in referring the proposal to the January meeting of the full council.
Councillor Robbie Withey, a member of the administration group told The Huntly Express that since his election he has campaigned for a free parking period in Huntly and found the decision difficult to take.
He said: "I have no argument that we need to stop subsidising car parking however, I have always been convinced this is possible whilst maintaining a small free period."
Opposition councillors proposed retaining the free half-hour with an adjustment to parking tariffs to bring the car park budget back into balance.
Councillor Glen Reid (SNP) said: "All across Aberdeenshire we can see the benefits that have been brought by the introduction of a short free period for parking."
Opposition leader Councillor Richard Thomson (SNP) added: "Car parks are there to help people use our town centres and not to act as either a cash drain or a cash cow."