Traf­fic war­dens re­turn to Lochaber

The Oban Times - - THE OBAN TIMES & WEST HIGHLAND TIMES -

TRAF­FIC war­dens will re­turn to Lochaber in Oc­to­ber.

As part of a £ 550,000 project, the High­land Coun­cil is tak­ing back con­trol of park­ing from the po­lice and cre­at­ing an en­force­ment team made up of a park­ing su­per­vi­sor, 10 park­ing of­fi­cers and two park­ing at­ten­dants.

A High­land Coun­cil spok­seper­son said: ‘The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment needs to pass leg­is­la­tion on this. The process will take un­til Oc­to­ber and then the coun­cil will be­gin to en­force all park­ing.’

The is­sue was dis­cussed by mem­bers of the High­land Coun­cil com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee ear­lier this year. At that time, the es­ti­mated bud­get was in­creased from a 2014 to­tal of £450,000 to cover higher than an­tic­i­pated costs for im­ple­ment­ing the scheme which in­cludes the paint­ing and check­ing of dou­ble yel­low lines and signs.

The com­mit­tee says a ma­jor risk to the project is the par­lia­men­tary le­gal timetable but ben­e­fits in­clude a co- or­di­nated park­ing en­force­ment ser­vice cov­er­ing on- and off-street park­ing across the High­lands. It will also free up po­lice of­fi­cers’ time.

Brian Mur­phy, coun­cil­lor for Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan, is in favour of the changes and de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion up un­til now as a ‘free for all’.

He said: ‘This all goes back to when Po­lice Scot­land was cre­ated and took the de­ci­sion to get rid of park­ing en­force­ment.

‘Traf­fic war­dens were paid by Po­lice Scot­land and that en­force­ment ceased in town which has re­sulted in an in­crease in in­fringe­ments in park­ing in the town. In par­tic­u­lar, I think there are prob­lems for those with dis­abil­i­ties be­cause peo­ple know that they can park in dis­abled spa­ces and on cor­ners and noth­ing will hap­pen. It has led to all sorts of stu­pid­ity re­ally.’

With re­gards to the cost of the scheme, Mr Mur­phy said: ‘The project will be self-fi­nanc­ing to a cer­tain ex­tent as the coun­cil will be able to hold on to any penal­ties. I be­lieve when it was op­er­ated by the po­lice the money went to the Trea­sury.’

He added: ‘I am con­fi­dent the scheme will im­prove park­ing in the area.’

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