26.09.2016

Luss Community Delivers Petition to Argyll & Bute Council

Residents and businesses have joined together to create a petition against Argyll & Bute Council’s parking proposals for the village of Luss. This was today presented to Argyll & Bute Council office in Helensburgh with 199 signatures. Representatives from the community, businesses and Loch Lomond Rescue Boat also took along copies of an Open Letter to the council. Quotes from community representatives are included at the end of the release.

The future of the historic village of Luss is being put in danger by parking proposals put forward by Argyll & Bute Council. The village, home to just 120 residents, welcomes over 750,000 visitors a year. According to VisitScotland statistics, this would rank Luss in the top ten of the most popular Scottish tourist destinations, with higher footfall than Stirling Castle, the Falkirk Wheel and Edinburgh Zoo. However, the beautiful village is besieged, on a daily basis, by traffic and parking chaos.

Argyll & Bute Council’s proposal to address the traffic congestion is to charge residents and visitors to park in the village. The proposal attracts NO support from village residents, local MSPs, The Friends of Loch Lomond or local businesses.

On Thursday 22 September 2016 the local newspaper, Helensburgh Advertiser, carried a full page Open Letter to Argyll & Bute Council calling on the council to withdraw their short-sighted parking proposals for Luss, which will not fix the acute and dangerous traffic congestion constantly facing the village. The open letter was signed by:

Luss & Arden Community Council
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton
Maurice Corry, MSP for West of Scotland
Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Luss Estates
Love Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Rescue Boat

In response Argyll & Bute Council stated: “Argyll and Bute Council has proactively developed parking and traffic management proposals for Luss which will put residents first, while at the same time supporting local businesses.”

In order to refute this claim by the council, local residents and businesses joined together to create a petition, as folllows:

We the undersigned, residents of Luss and the immediate surrounding area, or employed to work in the village of Luss, call upon Argyll & Bute Council:

To withdraw their ill-considered proposal to impose a parking permit scheme on the residents of Luss, along with the provision of paid parking within the village for non-residents.
To take immediate steps to exclude tourist traffic from the village entirely.
To ensure the provision of sufficient extra parking outwith the village to cope with the demands imposed by visitor traffic.
To reconsider the problems facing Luss and to properly consult with the community.

Valerie Jones, resident of the Parish of Luss and parent at Luss Primary School:

“The situation in Luss is frustrating and dangerous. I’m scared to walk around the village with my son because of the volume of traffic. The school children regularly pass through the village to access The Glebe (for sports), the Village Hall and the Church, and at the moment it just isn’t safe.”

James N MacCrae, Vice-chairman & Treasurer of Loch Lomond Rescue Boat:

“Our Rescue Boat is a busy one, with 50 to 70 call-outs every year. The vast majority of these occur in the months of April to October, with more at weekends and public holidays than on normal working weekdays. Naturally, and unfortunately, our busiest times thus tend to coincide with Luss village being at its busiest with visitors, and their vehicles. Our crew quite frequently are held up and lose many precious minutes due to the congestion, and in a really serious incident, these minutes could make a life or death difference. In some call-outs, it is also necessary for emergency vehicles, (ambulance/ fire service/ police) to get to the Boatshed, and they too have on occasion been delayed badly in crawling their way through the village – sometimes being unable actually to reach the Boatshed at all. 

Were visitor vehicles to be restricted to the main official car-park, and new parking areas just outside the edge of the village, leaving only villager vehicles plus necessary service vehicles moving or parked in the roads of the village, then these frustrating and dangerous delays would be eliminated. We cannot see that the present Council proposals will do anything to alleviate this problem, and we urge the Council to listen to local concerns and re-think their plan to produce a practical solution.”

Reverend Ian Miller, Luss Church:

"The way vehicles are left haphazardly on Pier Road with neither thought of safety or concern for those who live there astonishes me. I think it’s wonderful that people come to Luss...long may it continue, but now is the time for Argyll & Bute Council to act and to be fair to those who live in Luss.”

James Fraser, Chairman, Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs:

''It is time for Argyll and Bute Council to re-think their traffic management proposals for Luss as it clear from recent representation that local residents and local businesses are united in their strong opposition to what are currently serious flawed proposals that could make the situation worse.''

NOTES TO EDITOR

THE PROBLEMS

DANGER: pedestrians, especially the elderly and children, are at danger where the streets are narrow and there are no pavements.
CONGESTION: the tiny roads in this historic village have no restriction on visitor cars. The volume of traffic is unacceptable.
LACK OF PARKING: there is simply not enough parking. As a result, cars frequently double park randomly on pavements and blocking front doors. 
EMERGENCY SERVICES ACCESS: It has become extremely difficult for emergency services and lifeboat crew to access the village.