30 August 2022

Councillors approved £500,000 to improve Aberdeenshire off-street car parks

A £500,000 programme of improvements to a number of off-street car parks across Aberdeenshire is to be undertaken over the next five years.
 
Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee unanimously supported the works for those facilities most in need of upgrading to be financed from the £130million Infrastructure Fund agreed back in March. 
 
Managing and maintaining 113 public car parks providing a total of 4,088 spaces in 43 different settlements across Aberdeenshire is a major undertaking for the local authority.
 
While car park surfaces are not normally subject to the same level of damage caused by heavy vehicle movements and utility works as our roads, they are still subject to environmental degradation through the effects of water damage, frost and even sunlight.
 
Around £54,000 of revenue funding is allocated to car park maintenance each year and while this allows reactive maintenance to be undertaken it is insufficient to cover the costlier need to replace car park surface layers at the end of their serviceable lives.
 
Potential schemes will be prioritised on condition with those in the poorest state being given a higher priority, with car parks in Town Centre First locations also being given a higher priority over those of similar condition outwith town centres.
 
As part of the improvements, the need for future cabling will also be taken into consideration and installation of empty ducts may be required to facilitate the potential installation of EV charging points or pay and display terminals at a later date.
 
And with average car sizes increasing over the last 20 years, bay sizes are also to be re-assessed as part of the upgrades on a case by case basis, together with requirements for Blue Badge and mobility accessible parking, parent and child bays and motorcycle allocation.
 
Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cllr John Crawley said: “The £500,000 allocation to car park upgrades from the Infrastructure Fund will allow a start to be made in addressing the current backlog in required improvements and our clear approach will ensure that this additional money is targeted effectively to achieve the greatest lasting benefit to our car parking assets.”
 
Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “This is a very welcome investment in our car park infrastructure and will help us future-proof many of our facilities for many years to come. Of course we have to be pragmatic and be clear that not all of our car parks can be improved at this time. However the re-assessment of parking bay sizes is particularly welcome as cars have increased in size considerably in recent year and will make it much easier and safer for those accessing their vehicles.”