Pre-Consultation Reponse to Car Park Charging Proposal 04/03/2020
CC response to the PRE consultation and covering letter.
This will be followed by a FULL PUBLIC consultation . This process includes a period of pre-engagement with key stakeholders followed by public consultation on the draft proposals- HC words- In our case this will take the form of a drop in consultation day organised by HC-The times will probably be 3pm to 7pm – the date to be confirmed by them very soon but probably by the end of March. Those that are unable to attend for whatever reasons WILL have the opportunity to formally comment around that time. The CC have responded to the questionnaire -vehemently opposing any notion of this in any shape or form. This pre consultation is just that. It is important that people comment at the public consultation , once we know when it is , as that is the only way HC will note responses.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the issue of charging for use of local car parks.
Carrbridge is a village that attracts a high number of tourists throughout each year. They are drawn by the beauty of the local area, the wealth of wildlife, the considerable number of local attractions and, twice a year, to the internationally renown events of the Scottish Open Chainsaw Championship and the famous Golden Spurtle World Porridge Championship. These events attract tens of thousands of visitors.
It is important for us to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for visitors, while at the same time making sure that locals are not inconvenienced in any material way and enjoy the benefits that large numbers of tourist bring.
The car park is central to the village both geographically and socially being as it is surrounded by the primary school, the bowling green, the sports pavilion, the playing field, the children’s play park, the fire station, the village store, our bus station and the public toilets. It also contains the only public telephone in the area. None of these locations or services can be accessed without going into the car park. It is also a very short distance to the church and the village hall. From this you can see that any level of usage charge will impinge on almost everyone in the village locals and tourists alike.
We have in the village the permanent tourist attraction of the Pack Horse Bridge. This bridge is co-located with most of the village shops and eateries. It attracts many visitors and is a serious pinch point for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Although several hundred metres from the car park the Community Council has done a great deal of work in encouraging both locals and tourists to use the car park and have had some limited success. The introduction of charging will act as a incentive for traffic not to use the car park and will put pressure back on the area round the bridge risking accidents, restriction of trade and traffic congestion.
These proposals outline three criteria as measures of success.
- The public have told the Council that we should focus on income generation to protect services and jobs.
- There is a need to find solutions for tourist congestion/traffic management.
- Investment is needed in local infrastructure e.g. potholes/gullies.
While the Community Council accepts this as a laudable aim, we feel that these proposals are unlikely to deliver the intended result. If implemented, there will be a need for an infrastructure including, signs, line marking and hardware provision. Additionally work will need done on the removal of existing signs and there will be a cost in disseminating and consulting with user groups.
Once such a system is up and running it will need to be managed and policed in order that all revenue is accounted and the system itself is not abused at the local level. Hardware, signage and street marking will all have to b maintained.
That being so the level of charging necessary to create any surplus revenue would have to be extremely high, further discouraging the car park’s use.
Carrbridge doesn’t have a large volume of streets and much of what it does have is covered by double yellow lines. We already have considerable congestion problems and the Community Council feels that charging for parking will serious exacerbate the existing problems but pushing casual parking on to the streets.
At a very local level the Community Council are of the view that the added use of streets for parking will increase the already considerable problem of potholes, clogged gullies and failed drains, soakaways etc.
The Information pack also suggests that the proposals will “support local priorities and decision making”. The Community Council believe that local priorities and decision making are only achieved if our Car Park remains free and it is our wish that it does so.
Taking all these points into consideration we believe the proposal is flawed and would entreat the Highland Council to abandon these proposals.
C K Miller BSc
Carrbridge & Vicinity Community Council