People living near an Easter Ross service base claim they are frequently unable to get their cars out of their drives because workers and visitors to the base are being forced to park in residential areas due to a lack of on-site parking.
Yesterday they said it was a long-standing problem, but had worsened since building commenced on office accommodation in the car park at Shore Road, Invergordon.
Jim Cameron, 78, of nearby Outram Street, said: “It’s often so bad that there’s only single-file traffic and it’s definitely worse since they’ve taken away some of the parking spaces for the offices.
“There are times when the drivers of refuse lorries and delivery vans sit there blowing their horns to get vehicles moved.”
Mr Cameron said it was always worse when there was a rig undergoing work at the base, and there was one in at the moment.
“When rigs are in it’s diabolical. I dread to think what it’ll be like if we have two or more there now there’s less parking space,” he said.
Mr Cameron added that he believed the new office accommodation for Aberdeen-based oil, gas and petrochemical services provider RBG Ltd had taken away about 50 parking spaces.
And Ali Wilkerson, 30, who also lives in Outram Street, said he frequently had problems getting his car out of his drive because it was blocked by vehicles parked outside his home.
“It happens quite often, and about once a week it’s so bad that I have to phone a friend to take me to work because I can’t get my car out.
“I’ve definitely noticed a difference since they built the office block on the car park, and it’s been very bad this week,” he said.
In September of last year, Cromarty Firth Port Authority was criticised for removing a strip of trees and shrubs alongside the car park, which screened the base from the town.
At that time, port manager and harbour master Captain Ken Gray said it was necessary to enlarge the car park, which he said would improve the port’s facilities and minimise disruption to the town, but locals claim they did not see any improvement.
Mr Gray yesterday said there was adequate parking space within the facility for users of the port and it was the authority’s intention to further improve parking provision following the completion of the new offices, in early December.
He said: “This is planned as part of our continuous improvement programme for the service base, which began in 2006.
“Regrettably, the authority has no control over users, who do not park their cars in the allocated car parking area provided by the port. Should residents experience problems with vehicles obstructing their property, they should take this up with the appropriate authority.”