The dreadful economic effects of Covid has hit everyone in Orkney. Shoppers and shopkeepers alike have found it very difficult – some businesses had to close, others have had added expenses to maintain a safe environment and most people had reduced incomes.
Just as it was announced that Orkney was to move to Level 1 restrictions the parking charges at OIC owned car parks went up. This has had a noticeable effect with increased street parking and the use of residential only spaces as people try to park in Kirkwall without using the pay and display car parks.
At a time when shops were hoping to increase footfall the backlash on the council has been such that OIC is meeting on 31st of May to address concerns raised by Kirkwall BID representing the businesses in the town.
If the council agrees to returning to the one hour free proposal that will not come into effect until 1st of July. The new rates would also apply to Stromness pay and display car parks.
And before anyone reading this from south declares, ‘Is that all they pay in Orkney?’, take note that Orkney is a low wage economy and this is an added burden for people who want to support local shops.
The images below indicate what happens when the council makes decisions without consideration of how it will affect people already trying to balance their reduced family incomes.These pictures were taken at a time of day when you would expect the car parks to be full but instead people are choosing to park in resident only areas and on streets.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame