Over the next three years the Council needs to make £90 million in savings, with £45 million in savings which must be made during 2011-12.

Two sets of what are called ‘officer proposals’ have already been drawn up. These savings proposed in ‘Package 1’ totalled £16 million, mainly by reducing the number of managers and making back office savings. All but one of these proposals were approved by the Council in September and will help the Council to maximise cost savings for 2011-12.

A further £27 million in savings (‘Package 2’) have also now been identified by officers. A decision on these proposals will form part of the Council’s budget to be considered at its February meeting.

Now, to help the Council to meet the £90 million savings required, a further set of officer proposals has been produced. These ‘Package 3’ proposals will have an impact on some services, but also focus on maximising income, making savings through reducing the number of manager posts and through the use of new technology. Again, a decision on these proposals will be made at February’s budget meeting.

According to the City Council website the role of the City Development department is as follows:-

City Development is responsible for a range of services that help keep the city a safe, pleasant and prosperous place to live, work and study in or visit.

The department guides the physical and economic development of the city by supporting business and investment, co-ordinating major building and infrastructure projects, and balancing the challenges of allowing this historic city to grow in a manner that is sustainable in the long term.

It also acts as a guardian for the city in planning responses to emergencies that could affect it, and implementing public safety measures at the many major events that the city hosts.

The department has an annual budget of over £78m (generating an income of approximately £40m) and has around 700 staff.

Dave Anderson is Director of City Development and earns £120,513 in his role.

Councillor Phil Wheeler, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: “The announcement of the detailed settlement for individual councils in Scotland was disappointing for Edinburgh. We still have some difficult decisions to make, focusing on protecting essential frontline services.”

The Package 3 proposals can be found at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/budget

We cannot realistically analyse all of the council proposals so we have decided to concentrate on some of the proposals for the City Development Department.

The summary of the cross-departmental savings proposed by officers for 2011-14 in this department is:

  • Repairs and maintenance and contract compliance – budget savings of £250,000
  • Transport policy and planning, including payment to SESTRAN – budget savings of £35,000
  • Parking Operations, Pay and Display – additional income generation of £400,000
  • Parking Operations, Residential Permits – additional income generation of £80,000

Total savings and income generation proposed of £765,000. Quite a remarkable total, one which we think is a little confusing. It is not exactly clear when you are told that there are both savings and income generation in one figure…

You will notice in particular that the income is to go up for parking by almost half a million pounds. So how will that happen? Well, dear reader, of course you will have to pay more for parking in the City Centre. So, for example, the cost of parking your car in Charlotte Square – where there are minimal parking spaces anyway – will possibly rise from £2.00 to £2.60 per hour. In Bruntsfield and Stockbridge the cost of parking might rise from £1.20 to £1.40. And it is proposed that residential parking permits will rise by around 5%.

So actually there are no savings proposed here – just an increase in the price paid by the consumer. We all knew ever since the days of transport guru, David Beggs, that the days of the car in the city centre were numbered. It seems that this is yet another nail in the coffin. However until the public transport system is both perfect and runs for 24 hours there are some people who have no alternative but to use a car to get to work for example.

But we have a thought for the City Development Department. Instead of increasing the parking charges, how about slashing the cost of running the parking operations in the city? We regularly see two or three parking attendants ‘patrolling’ the streets together.  (Even as our photo shows during the snowstorm that affected Edinburgh before Christmas.) Is it time to wake up and smell the coffee? Can the city afford the luxury of having such a large number of people who are charged with the job of collecting fines for the city? We propose that the city gets rid of some of these attendants – or redeploys them in some useful activity, such as sweeping our pavements to get rid of the grit which is now littering them.


  1. I’m sorry, but I don’t find any of this credible, or helpful, in the slightest.

    As you’ve correctly pointed out, there is limited parking spaces in Charlotte Square – let’s blame those pesky Georgians for not thinking a little bit in advance, and Robert Adam for not building a multi-storey car-park in the central garden, tsk – and there is this little known theory called ‘Supply and Demand’. Basically, low supply and high demand equals higher prices. I think we have to live with that.

    I also find the concept that a raise in parking charges from £1.20 to £1.40 in Bruntsfield and Stockbridge as being a ‘nail in the coffin’ and ‘signalling the end of the car in the city centre’ quite difficult to get my head around. What planet are you actually on, because it’s clearly not the same one as me. £1.40/hour is dirt cheap. As for parking permits rising by around 5% its hardly comparable to the rise that those of us that depend on public transport put up with.

    I also take issue with your comment stating that ‘until the public transport system is both perfect and runs for 24 hours there are some people who have no alternative but to use a car to get to work for example.’ Have you any idea how ludicrous that statement is? This is always the somewhat tired excuse rolled out by car drivers who simply don’t want to give up their addiction. What are you actually wanting? A public transport system that consists of fleets of gold-plated, chauffeur-driven limousines that carry you from door to door, populated only with pretty ladies and handsome gentlemen whispering sweet-nothings into your ear during your daily commute? That’s what it sound like. Is one of the best bus services in the entire country really not good enough? Are regular buses from all parts of town to the city centre, running throughout the day from 6am until after 11pm really not good enough? Night buses going to all corners of the city providing a 24-hour service not good enough either?! Accept facts – you like your car and you don’t want to give it up. And anyone who points out that this really isn’t very practical in busy city centres is basically, well, evil. You’re selfish – accept it. A lot of people are, unfortunately.

    Your statement ‘so actually there are no savings proposed here’ is also wrong. If you look just two paragraphs above, one can quite clearly see savings of £285,000. I must also add that I don’t find the concept of increasing revenue and cutting costs in order to balance the books a confusing one. It’s quite simple really.

    Clearly you have failed to acknowledge that the majority of households in Edinburgh (including mine) don’t actually have a car. And do you know what? We actually manage to survive! We get to work and we get to the shops! Amazing! I don’t actually need to drag a big lump of metal in to the city centre and find a patch of public space in which to park it whilst I go about my business. You forget that the streets belong to us all – streets are not there to provide car parking. The majority of streets in Edinburgh were built around the pedestrian, and that is how they function best.

    Are you also seriously suggesting that it would be a logical move to get rid of parking attendants, and allow drivers to ignore restrictions and do as they please? Do you really think this would work? The fact that you’ve managed to get a photograph of four attendants speaking to each other must be shocking to some – imaging colleagues pausing for a few minutes to speak to each other! How very dare they! The reasons that we have parking restrictions is again because of supply and demand – by placing a charge and a limit on time, this ensures that the limited space is used effectively. Rather than cars being parked for long periods of time, you park, you shop, you drive off – someone else then gets a chance to use that space. Is that not fairer? I tell you what, if you really need to drive to get to work, park somewhere else and walk for a few minutes. Unless your disabled then you’ve really not got an excuse. Oh, and yes, I think the registered disabled are the only people who should reasonable expect to be able to park close to their destination. That is also fair.

    To summarise, I find it particularly galling that you seem to expect everyone’s council tax to rise, or other services to be cut, just so that the small minority of people who own cars in this city can get lower parking charges. This is nothing but selfishness in the extreme. I would expect to see this sort of whinge in the Daily Mail, but please, not here. Difficult decisions have to be made, I agree, but articles like this provide no help whatsoever.

  2. “We all knew ever since the days of transport guru, David Beggs, that the days of the car in the city centre were numbered. It seems that this is yet another nail in the coffin. However until the public transport system is both perfect and runs for 24 hours there are some people who have no alternative but to use a car to get to work for example.”

    On your bike!!

  3. Tom, thank you very much for your comment.

    A couple of points by way of clarification:- Our point was not to highlight how difficult it is to drive in the city centre or how difficult it is to park, but rather to point out that the approach to the Parking Operations section of the City Development Department’s budget is not actually to make any savings (by for example getting rid of some traffic attendants) but merely to increase the cost of parking. To us this seems a bit of limited strategy, when there are people who do need to bring their cars into the city for a variety of reasons, one of them being to get to work. Disabled people do not need to pay the cost of parking if they have a blue badge anyway.

    Our view is that there are possibly too many parking attendants employed in the city. But then how do we know this for sure? The parking attendants are not directly employed by The City of Edinburgh Council. As they are employed by a separate company contracted to the council they fall outwith the ambit of Freedom of Information legislation. We know this as we have made FOI requests to the council which have resulted in very little information! So we do not know how many are actually employed. The point of our photograph was to show that there were traffic attendants on the streets during the snowfall. They could not prosecute very many people as the yellow lines were obscured. This is borne out by the fact that the council is reported to have lost £700,000 in parking revenue in the two weeks in December when the streets were affected by snow. You can read The Evening News article here.

    The savings of £285,000 relate to a different part of CDD’s budget. In relation to parking there are no savings proposed but only increases in the cost to the consumer.

    The Editor is actually the proud owner of a very small car which hardly ever goes anywhere – about 4,000 miles a year at most – and is by preference a walker or a cyclist, or a user of public transport – preferably the kind with wifi….oh that’s another matter!

  4. Thank you for your update, Editor!

    I’m glad that you, by preference, are a walker, cyclist or user of public transport – I am still a little dismayed therefore that your article was very much written from the standpoint of one of the many very selfish drivers that unfortunately continue to clog up the city centre. I’m very glad that you’re not one of them! My message still stands to those at whom it still applies though. I really wish people would understand that the ability to drive and park is not a god-given right, and that our streets are a finite resource and access has to be restricted. I also don’t like the insidious muttering about parking attendants who I think do a very valuable job: if you don’t want to get fined, you can of course choose to obey the rules.

    I am still unhappy about the top photograph – I don’t think its fair to photograph people at work and cast aspersions about what they are up to. Just because there was lots of snow on the ground, thus making restrictions unenforceable, I don’t think they should have been told to do something that is not in their job remit, or worse, sent home. They are decent folk just trying to earn a living, they have employment contracts and rights as human beings. How many office workers bunked off because of the snow, or sit at their desks once in a while browsing facebook? Everyone should be allowed downtime – especially if they work so hard, for so little recognition the rest of the year.

    I don’t think cutting back on traffic attendants would make any difference to the City of Edinburgh Council’s budget – as you’ve pointed out they’re not council employees. Private companies bid for the contract to carry out the work on behalf of the council – which I would admit is another debate – but getting rid of attendants, whether employed privately or in-house would probably result in even fewer people obeying the rules that are there to ensure fairness. It would probably result in lower income as well. Each attendant brings in many, many times their own salaries in parking fines. At times I would even argue that there are not enough attendants, or that they concentrate only on the areas of high-returns – delivery drivers often can’t park outside our tenement down in Leith because of people flouting the parking restrictions. However the parking attendants are never down here, so people get away with it, causing inconvenience to the rest of us.

    I might take this opportunity to apologise for the stronger elements of my first comment – they were of course directed at an anonymous ‘admin’, and the aforementioned minority, not you personally. It’s funny how a smiling face on a gravatar changes one’s approach! Thanks again, though, for taking the time to respond.

  5. Mr. Parnell,
    I don’t drive in Edinburgh. But the Reporter is correct. I frequently see packs of parkies skulking about waiting for a victim. We should know what is the cost of the “Parking Service”. How much profit it makes and how the funds are deployed. I would be happier with fewer cars in the city. Better public transport as a result of increased revenue from parking – bring it on!

    “I find it particularly galling that you seem to expect everyone’s council tax to rise, or other services to be cut, just so that the small minority of people who own cars in this city can get lower parking charges.” I am not sure that anyone is advocating cutting other services to allow cheaper parking in the city.

  6. “I am not sure that anyone is advocating cutting other services to allow cheaper parking in the city.” The fact is – that the council must raise revenue from somewhere or cut council services.

    I’m completely in agreement with Tom. Increasing the size of the stick that deters people from driving to the city centre will benefit everyone. The city centre is affected by poor air quality and some of the best built heritage anywhere in the world is still being ruined by the councils reluctance to pedestrianise more streets.

    City Development are already pretty much pared down to the bone – so much so that they have to outsource a lot of their ‘core functions’ to private companies to keep permanent staff numbers down – and if the author of this post had read the officer proposals for cuts in City Development in the package one and two proposals then she’d probably have noticed commitments to pare even more back office staff reductions there.

    If it’s a choice between more revenue from parking charges or service cuts – I’d take increased parking charges. And I own a car in Edinburgh!

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