At random with Martin Laing week 29

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Parking is a shambles

There is, it would appear, only one story in town at the moment.

And so I make no apologies for returning to the issue of parking in Oban for third week running.

After the past two weeks’ thoughts on this, I have been contacted by a number of absolutely furious readers who wanted to vent their spleens about the new new charging regime.

One woman, Lilian Hutchison, who is quoted elsewhere in this week’s Oban Times, was manifestly upset at the ridiculous new system. Indeed, she was so angry when I spoke to her that she was on the verge of becoming emotional.

And another reader, Bill Matthews, described the system – quite rightly in my opinion – as a ‘shambles’.

What’s worse is that it is now presenting a clear danger to our tourism industry.

Let me give some examples.

I spoke to a family from Dundee who had come to Oban for a few days ahead of travelling to the Tiree Music Festival. They were bemused by the complete lack of anywhere to park while they were on Tiree without incurring parking tickets.

And I’ve spoken to two separate individuals who have berthed yachts at Oban Marina on Kerrera for the summer but who are now very seriously contemplating leaving because of the problems of parking.

Now, the marina was taken over last year by a couple who have made significant improvements to it and have invested heavily in it. I would hate to see their business put under threat because of their customers’ inability to park anywhere near to the connecting ferry from North Pier.

Users of the Atlantis Leisure Centre – particularly early morning types – have also spoken to me and voiced their anger at being unable to pay before 9am but running the risk of being ticketed if they are there later than that.

Argyll and Bute Council has got the parking system utterly and  hopelessly wrong. It needs to scrap the new system urgently and think very seriously before coming up with an alternative.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.