Talks have taken place between the Oban business community and council representatives after a new parking regime threatened to chase away tourists.
The chief executive of the local Business Improvement District wrote to the head of Argyll and Bute Council to raise several issues about the charges, brought in earlier this year.
In the letter Andrew Spence, chief executive of Bid4Oban, told Cleland Sneddon, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council: “The vast majority of complaints from visitors are to do with parking. This is evident on Trip Advisor reviews for hotels etc. On a recent survey of Oban Live (music festival) visitors, parking was the single biggest complaint. We want to resolve this and are looking at various options.”
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Now that payment is required for all council car parks in Oban, a culture has emerged of parking on streets with no metered parking.
Businesses say this is causing issues, particularly in the Lochavullin area, with people leaving cars parked all day limiting access to premises. They are calling for yellow lines to be introduced so parking violations can be resolved.
Mr Spence said there is ample parking in the council car parks at Lochavullin – but people don’t want to pay for it.
The community council has had reports of members of the public parking their cars at Oban, Lorn and the Islands Hospital and leaving them. Pre-paid parking permits becoming more readily available for residents may go some way to alleviating the problem, the community believes.
There has also been a call for better signage to highlight where long term parking is available.
Councillors and officers met with Mr Spence and the community council to try to resolve some of the problems.
Andrew Spence, chief executive of Bid4Oban, said: “We are now in positive dialogue with councillors and council officers, both are looking at ways forward to improve the situation.”
Marri Malloy, chairwoman of Oban Community Council, said: “I think we are finally getting somewhere.”
Elaine Robertson, Lead Councillor for Oban Lorn and the Isles, said: “We had a very positive meeting and things are moving forward.
“I think if we can give more information to people, for instance about the permits, that will make a big difference.”