By Rory Murphy
A decision on a park and ride station car park at Dalreoch in Dumbarton’s West End has been put on hold after it emerged no surveys have been carried out to assess demand for it.
West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning committee were due to decide on whether an extra 33 spaces should be created adjacent to the station near near West Bridgend high flats to encourage people to use public transport. New paths were planned to link the new car park to the station.
The plans have gone off the rails however because councillors have voted to continue the application for information, including details on how many people are currently using the facilities there.
A number of West Bridgend residents, supported by West End councillor David McBride, had objected to the plans, have expressed concerns about a green space being paved over to make way for the car park.
They had worries about noise and congestion in the area and claimed it wasn’t needed as parking at the station doesn’t reach capacity.
Councillor Daniel Lennie said: “The car park facilities available at the station are already underused and not at capacity. There’s no documented evidence of footfall. It’s been observational. We need better figures. We could end up with a concrete square with nobody in it.”
He said: “This is an area where people who don’t have a garden can look out and use this as their amenity.
“They believe the car park would have a detrimental effect on the residents of Leven Court who will be facing the car park. The residents don’t believe that this is required at the moment.
“Pre-Covid, they don’t see that West Bridgend car park is over flowing and it’s highly unlikely post-Covid that the trains will be far busier than they were previously.”
He also said congestion could be caused in William Street as the junction to West Bridgend is already busy with two bus stops and traffic lights at Dalreoch.
The meeting heard concerns that three trees would be removed as part of the plans and that this would be similar to what had recently happened and caused outrage amongst residents overlooking the old council offices car park at Garshake, but that 10 new trees would be planted.
“The parking has consistently been increasing in demand, with the exception of the last year, and that’s why this application has come about.
“It’s purely anecdotal and observational.”
He said SPT had approached the council about a feasibility study to investigate a further car park and said the car park might not be created until “several years down the line”.
He was also asked whether a “double decker” car park would be feasible on the current site but he said this would be too expensive and cost in the region of a seven-figure sum.
He said: “We’ve been told it won’t be built for a few years yet anyway. We don’t know how busy it will be in three years time. If there’s an increase, let’s look at it then.”
Councillor Denis Agnew tabled an amendment calling for the application to be continued to another meeting, saying: “We have committed as a council to going greener and helping people use public transport.
“We should continue this for the questions we would like answering around the traffic survey and more information from SPT.”
Voting was split with four equal votes and chair Jim Finn made the casting vote for the amendment.
Top picture: A steam train pulling into Dalreoch Station at West Bridgend, Dumbarton. Picture by John Kelenfoldi