Mullachs slam council’s ‘mayhem’ parking charges

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A petition calling for the council to scrap new parking charges by Mull’s ferry terminals to Oban, Iona and Ardnamurchan has gathered 1,600 signatures.

Parking at the car parks at Craignure, Fionnphort’s Columba Centre and Ledaig in Tobermory are due to move from free to pay and display, all year round, Monday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

A public consultation on Argyll and Bute Council’s proposed Traffic Regulation Order ends on November 16.

By Tuesday morning 1,581 had opposed the plan, signing an online petition called Stop Argyll Council. Neil Morrison, an islander who started the petition, argued: ‘This, in my opinion, is a cash building exercise and will dramatically affect our island’s economy.

‘The proposed plan shall not only impose extra taxation on residents and visitors, but will cause mayhem in our towns and villages by driving vehicles onto already overcrowded streets.’

Mr Morrison’s fears became a reality in Oban after the council imposed new parking charges last year. This summer we reported parked cars clogging up Oban streets had triggered a tirade of angry rants from fed-up residents.

The lack of free parking and no long-stay provision is being blamed for tourists and workers leaving their vehicles, often for weeks at a time, wherever they could find an on-street spot – from small cul-de-sacs to viewpoints.

Meanwhile, in Arrochar hillwalkers reacted angrily to a proposed 800 per cent increase in parking charges, from £1 to £9 per day, at the Succoth car park used by hikers heading for the Cobbler and the Arrochar Alps.

One petitioner opposing Mull’s new charges commented: ‘There doesn’t appear to have been an appropriate or adequate consultation, as these plans have so many implications for residents and visitors that by far outweigh the council’s rationale behind this proposal.’

Another added on the Stop Argyll Council webpage: ‘People coming to stay one night or more on Iona will have to keep going back to Fionnphort to top up their parking charges, also adding extra cost for holidaying on Iona.’

Another objector, Ian English, told The Oban Times that charging at Ledaig car park will displace many vehicles onto Main Street, and ‘create unimaginable chaos’ and ‘considerable danger to pedestrians’.

‘Main Street was total chaos during the summer of 2018. It is foolhardy in the extreme to consider exacerbating this chaos yet further by the imposition of this order, and for no good reason other than to create yet another revenue stream from motorists.

‘It is incredible having witnessed such chaos that no one has been injured or killed in Tobermory Main Street thus far. If this order is imposed, I doubt this will remain the case for very long.

‘In Craignure, residents of Mull are required to leave their vehicles parked there for extended periods in order to travel to the mainland for important appointments, including hospital appointments and admissions.

‘The time of their return can often be outwith their control due to many different reasons, including regular ferry delays and cancellations. Is the council satisfied with the potential of seeing residents return from, say, cancer treatments, or family funerals, only to find a parking ticket waiting for them on the island?

‘I presume the council to be aware of the fact that, in Craignure, there are no kerb parking restrictions on either side of the road, along the full stretch of roadway all the way from the public toilets to the Craignure Inn?

‘In the event of this order being implemented, I fully expect to see this stretch of road lined with parked vehicles, reducing the road width to a single lane, and potentially causing obstructions to larger vehicles, including emergency services.’