Plea for overhaul of ‘random and chaotic’ car parking


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Drivers are often warned of flooding on the pier car park even on dry days

A complete shake-up of parking in Helensburgh has been demanded, with free stays of up to three hours on all public car parks.

And parking permits for residents could also be considered in a review called for by James Robb, a former leader of Argyll and Bute Council.

Signage can be confusing, and free spaces are often used by a car dealership
Signage can be confusing, and free spaces are often used by a car dealership

He has lodged a motion at Tuesday’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee meeting, backed by SNP colleague Richard Trail, which states the free parking period should start immediately, followed by a review of other options.

Shoppers and commuters frequently park on the street rather than on car parks, and many spaces on the free section of the pier car park are used by a car sales showroom.

Cllr Robb said people were avoiding the town because of the long-running CHORD project, while the on-street parking regime was ‘random and chaotic’.

“The council’s one size fits all approach to parking seriously disadvantages Helensburgh, which has out of town retail easily accessible and the draw of Glasgow,” he added.

“The council parking regime seems more about raising fines than encouraging town centre visitors or keeping traffic moving.”

He says ‘constantly changing’ rules in car parks and poor information led to more than 1,000 drivers being fined: “There was a great deal of publicity when car parks were made temporarily free but when they started charged again the removal of covers over the ticket machines was the only sign.”

His motion at Tuesday’s meeting reads as follows:

All council-owned public car parks in Helensburgh will allow one period of free parking of up to three hours for each vehicle per day with the exception of retaining the existing arrangement for unlimited free parking on part of the Pier Head. It is further agreed that this policy be implemented as soon as possible.

To instruct officers to bring forward the next meeting of the Area Committee a review of on-street parking restrictions within Helensburgh to establish whether current parking restrictions support the outcomes of Local Economic Development Plan, meet the needs of residents and enhance the visitor experience.

(a) This review will detail current and proposed future arrangements and offer suggestions to a sustainable and stable on-street parking regime to meet the criteria as set out above.

(b) This review will consider the demand for residents parking permits and in council owned car parks to meet the identified needs of residents.

(c) It will be a fundamental principle of any proposal that on-street parking shall remain free but may be time limited where deemed beneficial.

(d) That these proposals form the basis of a public consultation before Implementation.


  1. Designating parking bays on the main streets for disabled users only would make sense. There are plenty of off road parking spaces within easy walking distance of the shops for those lucky enough to be fit and able bodied. Reducing the cost of using those car parks would encourage more people to use the town centre.

  2. The council could provide 2000 free car parking spaces within walking distance; however people will still park in Sinclair Street and will not walk. I have never seen so many people anywhere else that will drive around and around until they can park right outside their chosen shop. Even when workman placed cones a few weeks ago people just ignored them and still parked. The rule for this street is no parking between 09:00 and 18:00 however people can either not read or are ignorant. There is no waiting time here full stop, if you park and get a ticket well I’m glad you did. However I have noticed that even when free parking is available and people are asked to display a ticket that costs nothing, some people still will not walk to even get a free ticket. Sinclair Street should be pedestrians only and the sea front car park should be cleared of all other hazards allowing only parking and nothing else.
    If you look around the town from 08:00am several regular cars can be seen parked all day until 17:00 in 1hr bays. When I asked the traffic warden about this he informed me I was mistaken. I would like to say I wish I was, however time stamped phone photographs tell the truth. So this is what the council is up against, Come on A&B Council sort it out once and for all. How much money is being wasted and time on such a simple thing. Disabled parking only and anyone who is able to walk “Should Walk” It’s not rocket science.

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