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Motorists in Nairn stump up voluntary parking charges at links and harbour

By Donald Wilson

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Parking meter in the harbour car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Parking meter in the harbour car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Voluntary parking charges at the Nairn Links and harbour brought in £1250 in the first week of operation.

And Highland Council’s principal traffic officer, Shane Manning, told a recent meeting of Nairn West and Suburban Community Council that the number of motorists paying for their parking was growing every day.

“At close of play on June 1 we had 40 per cent [of drivers] volunteer,” he said.

The controversial charges have been implemented on a voluntary basis with a planned review of the system to take place later.

A number of locals have raised fears that, if they become compulsory, they will simply cause displacement of vehicles to other residential areas.

Community councillor Joan Noble said at the meeting she had read in council minutes the only reason the charges are not already being enforced this year is because the council could not get the traffic orders through in time.

“So watch this space,” she said. “When the traffic orders get through they will charge next year.”

Nairn parking meter sign at Cumming Street car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Nairn parking meter sign at Cumming Street car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Mr Manning said there was a long way to go before the council could impose charges.

“The intention is to prove some good can come of these charges and the money can be spent on Nairn,” he said.

“When, and if, we go back to the community to make the charges it will be a statutory consultation.”

He told the meeting the cost of installation of the meters would be met by Highland Council and proceeds will go directly to the Nairn Common Good Fund for future infrastructure projects.

It would also be his intention there would be an exemption from charges for those using the harbour, he added.

“The primary purpose is it is a harbour and there should be no penalty for people using it,” he said.

Harbour car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Harbour car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.

In terms of the benefits that could accrue from charges he pointed to work in Portree where he said £1 million in new funding had been achieved solely through income from parking.

The meeting also heard concerns about numbers of vehicles now parking on the grass at the links.

Asked if these motorists would be expected to pay, Mr Manning admitted they could not be charged, at least as things stand.

“It’s land that’s not regulated,” he said. “I have concerns about that and the future could be increasing the size of the Cumming Street car park.”

Another solution could be putting a fence up to prevent vehicle access onto the grass, he added.

Chairwoman Sheena Baker said when families came to use the splash pool at the seafront, they were prepared to pay.

“But I don’t expect residents to pay,” she said. “It’s common good land.”

Related story: Talks to be held on new parking fees for Nairn

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