Argyll and Bute Council unveil Helensburgh seafront parking plan

HELENSBURGH seafront parking could become free for up to two hours under new proposals due to be put to councillors.

With the city’s new leisure center now open and operational, discussions have taken place on how the car park will operate and its pricing regime.

And parking is now proposed to be free for up to two hours, with fees imposed thereafter.

The same arrangements are already in place at the nearby Colquhoun Square car park.

Local councilors were told on a working day of the proposal, with an Argyll and Bute council official’s report saying they are ‘widely supportive’ of the move – even though it would cut parking revenue council of approximately £24,000.

Councilors will also be asked to agree to officers advancing a traffic control order covering the new car park, with the option of allowing free parking for the first two hours.

All submissions received will be forwarded to the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee.

The report will be presented to the full council at its meeting on Thursday 29 September.

Executive Director Kirsty Flanagan said: ‘As part of the first phase of the waterfront development, a car park spanning 265 spaces has been constructed.

“It was originally intended that this car park would be operated as a paid car park by the council, with the revenue included in the council’s overall revenue budget. Parking is an important parking asset in Helensburgh.

“The wider parking strategy for Helensburgh and the whole of Argyll and Bute is the subject of an ongoing parking review exercise which will be presented to members when completed.

“Discussions have been ongoing regarding the operation of the car park, the pricing scheme and the associated management for some time.

“Originally it was proposed that parking would be fully charged using the standard hourly rate for off-street parking.

“In July this year, Commercial Services requested a proposal for the new car park to be free for the first two hours and chargeable thereafter.

“The rationale for this is to help ensure the leisure facility is in good working order, to incentivize users and to encourage users of the facility to park near the leisure facility , rather than occupying nearby street parking spaces.

“The current fees and charges policy for 2022/23 and council parking policy do not allow any changes to fees in the seafront car park.

“Any proposed change should therefore be accepted by the board as a policy change.”

The two hour free parking time would require the driver of the car to obtain a ticket confirming the date and time of arrival. The first two hours would then be free, with additional parking being charged.

Ms Flanagan added: ‘There will also be a need to consider the enforcement and management of the two hour free charging period as staff should be there more frequently to ensure the car park is used correctly and not abused. .

“[This] could ultimately have a detrimental effect on the traffic management of planning areas and the town centre, with vehicles staying there for a long time displacing other vehicles towards the town center due to a lack of rotation of spaces.

“This will require additional patrols and will place additional demand on a small enforcement team covering other areas including tourist hotspots such as Luss, Duck Bay and Arrochar.

“This has already been highlighted as part of the planning request response in August 2018.

“It may be necessary to increase the amount of guardian coverage to meet any additional demands.”

Ms. Flanagan concluded: “To ensure the success of the new leisure equipment and the commercialization of the commercial site, the option of a free period limited to two hours of parking is considered to be the best compromise.

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