Plans to ease traffic woes in a bustling tourist spot are progressing.
Argyll and Bute Council has issued a tender for a public contract to build a car park in Tobermory’s Baliscate area, with the aim of taking vehicles out of the town centre.
As well as offering more space for people visiting the nearby cemetery, it is hoped the car park will help to redirect cars, buses and campervans away from busy Main Street.
Over the years a number of ideas have been considered to ease traffic pressure including the introduction of a £9 parking fee, and the latest proposal will encourage motorists to walk into town.
A car park for residents and tourists
Brian Swinbanks, the volunteer chairman of Tobermory Traffic Management Group, said: “We set up the group a number of years ago when traffic in the town had descended into chaos.
“One of the suggestions of the group was to establish a park and ride, or park and walk car park at Baliscate.
“We want this car park to be of use to both the residents of the town, and to the tourists who visit us.
“The council, who have been very supportive, has issued a public contract to look at what is possible. We want it to be as big as possible with facilities for drivers such as electric charging and if possible an area for waste disposal. But it will all depend on cost.”
The project is being funded by grants from the Crown Estate and rural development funding.
Mr Swinbanks said the group were firm that the car park was not for overnight stays. He said: “There are plenty of established and newly-provided spaces for overnights for campervans around the island. We will be encouraging people to use these.
Hope space will meet the needs of all
Councillor Mary-Jean Devon, for Oban South and the Isles, said she was delighted that good partnership working between the traffic group and Argyll and Bute Council would see the car park established.
She said: “For many years car parking in Tobermory has been difficult to say the least. The town was not built with cars in mind, and the car park is not big enough to meet the demand of today’s tourist.
“We hope that we will be able to establish the best type of car park to meet the needs of those using the cemetery and those who are visiting the town.
“There are a number of variable options that we hope to be able to get from the tendering process. Those things will determine the final size of the car park, and how many spaces it will offer.”
Funding for the project is in place
A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said: “Plans to build a new visitor facility are progressing with a tender to start works now issued.
“Tobermory is a popular visitor destination and we hope a new car park will ease some of the visitor pressures in the village centre.
“Funding for the project was agreed in 2021 with £400, 000 of Crown Estate funding in addition to the £350,000 Rural Development Infrastructure Fund.
“Work is due to start later this year.”
The deadline to tender for the work is February 16.