Get ready for staycationers, urges business group boss

Congestion in Lochavullin Road caused by parked cars. 16_T34_lochavullinparkingrow
Street parking in Lochavullin Road

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Oban parking solutions need to be ready for next year’s staycationers, business group boss Andrew Spence has warned.

Speaking to members of the town’s community council at their September meeting, Mr Spence who is Bid4Oban’s chief executive said next year is bound to bring in huge numbers of UK visitors because of the Covid pandemic.

Instead of foreign travel, people will be  holidaying nearer home – ‘We need to get prepared’ he said, calling for traffic and parking solutions to ease congestion in the town to be in place for the 2021 tourist season.

‘We need to get dialogue going with council officers and resolve these problems for once and all,’ he added.

Motorists clogging up streets and snatching priority spaces have added to the town’s congestion over the years in the peak season.

During last Monday’s community council meeting, community councillor Laura Corbe also raised the possibility of a park-and-ride set-up on the edge of town as one way of tackling some of Oban’s parking issues.

Mr Spence later told The Oban Times talks that started back in 2018 to improve parking in the town ‘didn’t appear to be any further forward’.

‘We need to upgrade payment machines and need to look at introducing a proper car parking regime where you could let people park free for the first 30 minutes before starting enforcement. On George Street make it a maximum of one hour parking giving people time to go to the bank or shops then free up the space for someone else.

‘We need to get serious about this and have it in place for next year.

‘At the moment we don’t have the option in town for more than 24 hours parking for people going off on ferries.

‘We also need to look at the possibility of Lochavullin car park, which stands empty every day, being used for parking by workers who could pay just a couple of pounds to leave their vehicles there,’ he added.