Plans to charge council staff and elected members hundreds of pounds for an annual parking permit at Renfrewshire House have been met with a backlash.

The local authority has been accused of being “desperate for money” after confirming its intention to reintroduce a charging scheme for employees and councillors at the headquarters in Cotton Street.

From Thursday, April 25, between the hours of 7am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, the car park will be for permit holders only and a permit will cost £30 per four-week period – equivalent to £390 per year.

Councillor Eddie Devine, who represents Paisley Southeast, said: “We’re told it will come to £390 for a year – how the heck are staff going to cope with that? I just do not know.

“I think we should pay something but these sort of charges are just not fair. I don’t think it’s a fair amount to ask people.

“It’s way too much for everybody and where else do you go? They’re trying to get money from wherever they can.

“It’s clear the council are just desperate for money.”

While both staff and councillors will have the option to apply for an annual permit at Renfrewshire House, a separate cheaper option will also be available to staff at Saucel Crescent car park – at a cost of £20 per four-week period.

Due to a limited number of available spaces within both facilities, each service will receive a percentage of permits based on the number of employees they have working at Renfrewshire House. If this is oversubscribed, there will be a ballot within each service for the available permits.

Employees whose role requires them to regularly attend the HQ for short trips will be provided with pick-up and drop-off permits free of charge.

It’s understood Unison decided to lodge a formal failure to agree over the issue because of workforce concerns around affordability and safety.

Mark Ferguson, the union’s branch secretary, said: “We are receiving unprecedented complaints in relation to the forthcoming charging scheme for those located at Renfrewshire House.

“The branch has also had members in outlying areas, impacted by the changes to public parking.

“Unison takes this issue very seriously as it is nothing more than a tax on wages – many of our members can ill afford to be forking out the additional costs for coming to work.

“We have been advised that this is being driven by the green agenda – if that is the case then there are many more ways staff could be supported to consider other modes of transport.”

A council spokesperson said: “Prior to the pandemic a paid-for parking scheme was in operation for a limited number of employees and then suspended, with free access opened to all employees.

“Given the demand and limited number of spaces available, we believe that reintroducing a permit system is the fairest option.

“At a cost of £7.50 a week, parking at Renfrewshire House will remain significantly cheaper than using alternative methods of public transport.

“Employees whose role requires them to use their car for work and regularly attend Renfrewshire House for short periods will be provided with the option of a pick-up/drop-off permit, free of charge.

“We are continuing to engage and work with the trade unions on this matter.”

The move follows a previous decision to increase parking charges in Paisley town centre which took effect in February.