Over 1,000 sign petition for free car parking

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for free parking to support trade in Helensburgh town centre.

With the £7m CHORD project finally drawing to a close, Argyll and Bute Council is consulting about plans for a new charging regime on the town’s streets and cars, as revealed here.

A bid by opposition councillors to introduce a free period in car parks was unsuccessful in December, but now Helensburgh traders and chamber of commerce are taking action.

A total of 379 people have now signed the petition online, with more than 1,000 thought to have signed  paper copies.

A chamber spokesperson said: “We believe that the re-introduction of parking charges and the lack of consistency regarding rules for on-street parking charges are deterring people from using the town centre, which, ultimately, will have a negative impact on the shops, other businesses and the overall economy.

“Despite the recent improvements, our town centre is struggling to compete with out of town shopping and other areas that offer free parking.

“With the Chord works nearing completion the introduction of two hours free parking would be regarded as a sign of support to the local community and businesses.”

The petition reads: “We the undersigned petition Argyll and Bute Council to introduce TWO hours free parking in all the council operated car parks in Helensburgh. We also require on-street parking to be standardized within the town centre to ONE hour free.”

Despite the need for uniformity being cited as the reason for steep increase in fees for sports pitches, there seems still to be less uniformity in the council’s parking charges – in  Lochgilphead, where the council is based, there has never been any charge for parking.