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Furious residents on Inverness street blast Highland Council over parking 'free-for-all'

By Neil MacPhail

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A group of residents are calling for action on parking in their city street.
A group of residents are calling for action on parking in their city street.

Residents in an Inverness street are losing patience with Highland Council over lack of action to get them permit parking and stop the parking free-for-all that exists.

They fear the situation could cause a serious accident.

Rangemore Road is one of the last remaining "free parking" streets near the city centre, which has led to an unmanageable and at times dangerous situation say the residents.

The council however say they are reluctant to take action because less than half of residents there responded to their survey.

A spokesperson for Rangemore Residents said: "It has become just about impossible to park in our own street resulting in parents with young children having to carry youngsters and shopping from one end of the street to the other.

"Elderly residents are struggling from nearby streets to their homes with heavy purchases.

"Health professionals and carers cannot park anywhere near those they support. Driveways are blocked or just about impossible to enter or exit safely and so it on."

Non-residents are taking advantage of free parking while they head into town, theatre, local schools, their work or even off on holiday.

And residents say they have to park on to the narrow pavements forcing pedestrians onto the road.

The residents said: "Our street is a route to the many schools in the area. It is only a matter of time until there is a serious accident, and there have been many near misses."

They claim Highland Council has moved at a snail's pace since 2018, when a roads department survey indicated that most residences in Rangemore Road favoured permit parking.

The spokesperson said: "Nothing has happened. There has been no public consultation, permit bay layout agreed or amendment to traffic regulations."

"Numerous residents have raised the problem with Highland Council, and indeed there has been an acknowledgement from them that there is a considerable issue which needs to be addressed.

"Throughout this lengthy process Drew Hendry MP has offered us considerable support, which is much appreciated.

"He has established that he will contact the lead of this project monthly to get regular updates on the progress being made. The first of these updates was due in July but despite his request no update is forthcoming.

"Over the past five years the residents of Rangemore Rd have respectfully campaigned for the parking issues to be addressed. They have been patient, polite and understanding. All to no avail. Now we request your help."

Highland Council responded: "We are aware of residents' concerns around parking issues. We have carried out engagements in the form of household questionnaires.

"There are approximately 42 households on this street and whenever we have canvassed residents we have received responses from far less than 50% of households.

"We are very reluctant to proceed with proposals on permit parking unless there is at least a majority consensus on the introduction of a permit scheme mainly due to the onerous nature of permit schemes that introduce annual charges to eligible residents for the issue of permits.

"Permit Schemes are generally provided to exclude unauthorised vehicles from residential streets, usually commuting drivers. From our observations the majority of vehicles in this street belong to Rangemore Road households."

And the council issued a warning regarding on-pavement parking.

"It is always the responsibility of individual drivers to park safely and carefully.

"Pavement parking will soon become a statutory contravention across Scotland allowing Highland Council to enforce against vehicles encroaching on footpaths.

"We are always ready to support the community when traffic regulation is necessary but this is always dependant on available resources and prioritisation on evidenced safety related matters. We will continue to monitor the situation on Rangemore Road and will be glad to discuss this matter with residents through any local forum they may suggest."

The residents issued some of of the responses from Highland Council on the issue over the past five years:

September 2020: "We are currently working on the implementation of residential parking in Rangemore Road as a priority."

May 2021:"We continue to work on a resolution."

January 2022: "You will be pleased to note that the council will be working on Rangemore Road in early 2022 as the previous schemes have now been developed."

January 2023: "I can confirm that Rangemore Road will be included in the permit parking zone …… you may shortly see us on the street marking the road up for the new permit bay layout."

June 2023: "We have been given a commitment from the team that this proposal be accelerated to bring it to the statutory consultation stage."

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