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Illegal parking on Elgin High Street: Warnings ‘lives being put at risk’ by drivers ignoring rules

Elgin Bid has revealed concerns about motorists ignoring parking rules are being reported "almost every day".

Multiple vans parked on Elgin High Street on Plainstones.
Motorists are reportedly seen parking on the High Street every day despite a ban on vehicles from 11am to 4pm. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Motorists ignoring parking and driving restrictions on Elgin High Street have been accused of putting lives at risk.

Vehicles driving across the Plainstones, mounting pavements and flouting double yellow lines has been an increasing problem.

Drivers have reportedly been seen doing at least 30mph when the High Street is pedestrianised, children have been pulled out of the way and cars have been seen driving up pavements.

Elgin Community Council has called a public meeting for next week to discuss the growing problem in the town centre.

And Elgin Bid has warned the safety of shoppers on the High Street is being put at risk every day by drivers ignoring parking rules.

‘We need to change attitudes’

Elgin Bid has been sharing photographs on social media of some of the worst cases of ignoring parking rules.

The central Plainstones area is pedestrianised daily between 11am and 4pm.

However, pictures shared by the business improvement district show several cars parked at the same time at the fountain and further along the street.

Profile photo of Angela Norrie smiling at camera.
Angela Norrie, manager of Elgin Bid. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Bid manager Angela Norrie explained vehicles moving around the High Street during the pedestrianised period risks the safety of all shoppers.

She said: “I’ve been in this role for a year now and during that time I’ve seen people’s lives put in danger.

“You can’t cross from one side of the High Street to the other without multiple cars being around.

“The worst cases have probably been seeing a car drive at 30 or 40mph down the road. Nobody is expecting any cars at all, let along one doing that speed.

Poster saying "leaving your car here is nae dandy" with picture of Dandy Lion.
Dandy Lion has fronted a parking campaign on Batchen Street. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

“I’ve also had to grab a child by the collar and haul him out of the way of a car. I felt so sorry for his parents.

“We’re seeing things like this happen every day.

“We’re trying to work on education to change attitudes. Our members want to take advantage of outdoor seating but they can’t at the moment due to illegal parking.”

‘Poundland is scapegoat for Batchen Street problems’

Batchen Street has been affected by extra traffic due to the Poundland works, which has now been ongoing for more than five years.

It means traffic trying to exit the western end of the High Street needs to turn up the narrow road instead of the wider North Street.

Parked car on Batchen Street with notice in foreground saying no parking.
Parked cars on Batchen Street can force drivers to mount the pavement on the other side to pass them. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

The works have been blamed for an increase in cars blocking the pavement to park. It means pedestrians are forced onto the road or other vehicles have to drive up the other pavement to pass them.

Ms Norrie added: “Poundland is being as a scapegoat for the problems on Batchen Street.

“At times there are cars parked on the pavements literally from the top all the way down and cars drive on the pavement to pass.

“It’s a danger to anyone walking on the street.”

Who is responsible for enforcing illegal parking on Elgin High Street?

Many believe the problems with Elgin High Street’s current parking problems stem from a lack of enforcement on offenders.

Elgin Community Council has suggested the issue will be impossible to solve without the return of some form of traffic warden.

Moray Council currently only has the power to enforce parking rules in its pay and display car parks with the police responsible for on-street offences.

Multiple vans on Elgin High Street in front of St Giles Church.
Pedestrians are being forced to share the High Street at times. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

The local authority says it meets regularly with police to discuss ongoing parking problems. Traffic control bollards are also being considered as a physical barrier.

Meanwhile, council officials say its car parks are operating at about 50% of total capacity. Occupancy of individual sites vary between 88% and 22%.

Decriminalising parking offences in Elgin to make them enforceable by the council has been discussed. However, it could cost nearly £400,000 to implement.

Moray Council has warned the move has not been popular in rural regions due to difficulties establishing a business case.

Elgin’s parking problem: Meeting called to debate ideas to solve issue once and for all