Petition Argyll & Bute Council against raising parking fees at Arrochar car parks by 800%
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⦁ You may have missed the small notification of the council's intent to increase the parking fees at Arrochar. This took the form of a piece of A4 paper fastened to the bottom of one of the signs in the car park
⦁ The increase in parking fees proposed by Argyll and Bute Council is from £1 a day to £9 a day. This represents 800% and will penalise walkers and climbers trying to enjoy taking exercise in the countryside
The proposed increase in charges appears out of proportion to both the facilities on offer and to the parking fees in the surrounding area. It shows a lack of common sense and awareness of the far-reaching consequences such a decision will have
The Cobbler is possibly the most popular hill in Scotland and has always been available for ordinary people to enjoy, regardless of varying levels of fitness due to it's proximity to centres of population and excellent paths allowing easy access to the lower slopes
⦁ Making the parking fees so expensive will put such valuable, and previously affordable exercise, out of reach for a lot of people, thereby denying them a basic right to fresh air and exercise
⦁ The proposed increase in the parking charge is going to have far-reaching effects. It will be a deterrent to those wishing to roam in open spaces, curtailing people’s freedom. Walkers on social networks - are already stating that if this goes ahead they will not be going back to Arrochar
⦁ There are serious safety concerns. The proposed pricing strategy is potentially dangerous and if implemented will pose a risk to the public
We understand the council plan is to charge £1 an hour up to £9 which is the charge for one day - which means from 6am to 9pm
Therefore climbers and walkers will on arrival at the car park have to estimate how long they will be out on the hill and then feed the meter
Now as we should all know, the time a climb takes is entirely dependent upon the weather conditions. And conditions will often change during a climb.
In winter the time taken will be greatly extended. The result will therefore be members of the public rushing their decent in order to avoid incurring a PCN (parking ticket). PCNs are now raised to a minimum of £60.00
This will inevitably lead to more accidents, injuries and call outs for rescue teams, to say nothing of the ruination of a pleasant day of fresh air and exercise - something that another branch of the Scottish government is encouraging the public to take more of
⦁ If the proposed increase in pricing goes ahead another result will be to inconvenience the local residents. Car park patrons will not be prepared to pay £9 when a few hundred meters up the road there are apparently free parking spaces in front of houses and alongside shops
The results are potentially catastrophic as the main road through Arrochar is not the safest in Scotland being narrow and winding. Resolving this issue was one reason the car parks were created in the first place
⦁ We note that several other authorities are carefully following this issue - perhaps with a view to raising parking charges at other hillwalking car parks. If Argyll and Bute succeed in raising fees at Arrochar by 800% expect more of the same!
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