THE results of a survey conducted by a local MSP to gauge the popularity of proposed new parking restrictions in North Berwick has revealed strong opposition to the planned scheme.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, has released the results of a survey into the scheme – the biggest shake-up of parking provision in North Berwick for decades – which would, says the council, greatly improve “parking management” and raise much-needed income for the local authority.

At its centre are plans to introduce four Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ), where on-street parking charges – varying from 50p to £1 per 30-minute period – would be introduced and residents in designated streets would be charged £40 for parking permits.

Mr Hoy received 555 survey responses from households across North Berwick, representing 16 per cent of all households in the town, of which 74 per cent were against the proposals.

On the question of “do you support or oppose the introduction of on-street parking charges for North Berwick?”, 409 residents said they opposed the move while 149 said they supported it.

Some 323 out of 548 people (59 per cent) said they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about a lack of parking facilities in North Berwick.

Respondents to Mr Hoy’s survey were also more supportive of designated visitor parking outside the town centre, supported by 84 per cent of respondents, and a seasonal visitor park and ride scheme, which was supported by 83 per cent of respondents.

Mr Hoy said: “It is imperative that East Lothian Council and local ward councillors listen to residents and represent their views as best as they possibly can. East Lothian Council need to be clear about what parking charges will mean for residents of North Berwick.

“The council administration have argued that their proposals will increase parking availability in North Berwick; however, under their proposals there will be no additional designated residential parking spaces in the town, meaning there is no guarantee for local residents that they will have access to an on-street parking space even after they buy a parking permit.

“Businesses are also legitimately worried that people who normally travel into North Berwick will park and shop in large supermarkets with free parking or out-of-town retail outlets elsewhere in the county which are dominated by large national chains.”

Jeremy Findlay, councillor for North Berwick Coastal ward, added: “I remain opposed to the introduction of charged parking spaces in North Berwick following on from feedback from local residents and High Street businesses.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson previously stated: “A key aim of the proposals would be to increase the turnover of parking spaces in busy areas so that it is easier for people to access local amenities and businesses, rather than having to go elsewhere because of a shortage of parking.”