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Could automatic traffic bollards be the answer to solve Elgin’s parking free-for-all?

Moray Council is currently examining installing the blocks as an alternative to traffic wardens.

Mock up image of three traffic bollards outside Costa on Elgin High Street.
How traffic bollards could look on Elgin High Street. Image: DC Thomson Design.

Bollards could be installed across Elgin town centre in an attempt to solve the current parking free-for-all.

Moray Council is in early talks about fitting automatic equipment that will rise and fall at specific times in eight locations to prevent access.

Daily complaints are made about drivers ignoring current parking rules. They include leaving cars on double yellow lines, mounting pavements and misusing blue badge spaces.

Motorists ignoring the daily 11am to 4pm pedestrianisation of the High Street have also been accused of “putting lives at risk”.

Many have called for the reintroduction of traffic wardens to enforce the current rules with fines.

However, Moray Council officials favour installing traffic bollards in Elgin town centre to act as a new physical barrier to end the parking chaos.

Would you support traffic bollards being installed in Elgin to help with parking concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

Where would the bollards go in Elgin?

Map of where traffic bollards could go in Elgin town centre.
Where Moray Council is proposing traffic bollards. Image: Moray Council

Moray Council has earmarked eight locations to install traffic bollards to restrict access at specific times.

The locations include the eastern and western end of the Plainstones where numerous complaints have been made about drivers ignoring current restrictions.

The top and bottom of Batchen Street has also been suggested. The South Street junction and outside TK Maxx on Thunderton Place are also in the frame.

The final two locations are the top of Commerce Street and on the High Street between Lossie Wynd and Commerce Street near Timpson.

How would the bollards work?

Shoppers in Inverness city centre walking around bollards.
Similar bollards are already in place on Inverness High Street. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

The bollards would be installed at the eight locations. They would rise when traffic restrictions are in place to prevent access for unauthorised vehicles.

They would then automatically drop into the ground again later in the day when there are no rules in place.

Diane Anderson is a senior transportation engineer at Moray Council.

She said: “Through physical measures, like rising bollards or similar, we can prevent those accessing the Plainstones  to stop at the ATMs or whatever.

“We can still allow access for delivery vehicles for local businesses. When North Street is open again it would also allow Batchen Street to have tables and chairs out on the pavement.

“I don’t know if people don’t see the signs that are there are the moment, don’t understand them or just don’t care. But that’s why we are looking at physical measures to support the existing orders.”

Mrs Anderson explained access would still be guaranteed for emergency services. Businesses could get access through the bollards through a form of electronic key.

Wouldn’t bringing traffic wardens back to Elgin be better?

Reintroducing traffic wardens to Elgin town centre has been a more popular call than installing bollards.

Many business owners and shoppers believe a deterrent is needed to make drivers abide by the rules.

Police are currently the only ones able to issue fines, but they have admitted they don’t have the time.

Multiple cars parked on pavement on Elgin High Street.
Bollards wouldn’t stop drivers parking on double yellow lines or pavements, or both at the same time. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Getting court permission for Moray Council or another group to issue traffic fines could cost up to £500,000.

Initial estimates for the price of rising bollards is £150,000, which doesn’t include the cost of the works to install them.

Mrs Anderson added: “You wouldn’t then have the additional ongoing cost of paying traffic wardens to monitor it because cars physically wouldn’t be able to get in there.”

However, traffic bollards would not solve all of the current problems. Drivers would still be able to park on pavements or double yellow lines in areas not covered by the restrictions.

What else is being done about the parking problems in Elgin?

Mrs Anderson explained Moray Council is tapping into Scottish Government funding to commission consultants to work on the bollards.

Elgin Bid has told the Press and Journal it is working on an education campaign to inform drivers of the current rules.

Multiple vans on Elgin High Street in front of St Giles Church.
Bollards would stop unauthorised drivers parking on the Plainstones. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Elgin Community Council is also considering a petition to push for a solution from Moray Council.

Meanwhile, the local authority is currently drawing up plans on how it could spend £20 million from the UK Government over the next 10 years.

The money is expecting to be spent on projects included in the Elgin town centre masterplan. That mentions concerns about parking throughout.