By Ruth Crosbie
Councillors have put the wheels in motion on a new plan to provide free parking at the Helensburgh Waterfront car park.
Proposals for parking to be free for the first two hours, delivering a major boost to local people using Helensburgh’s newly-opened leisure centre and swimming pool, have been approved.
The move will also benefit the town’s businesses, allowing local people and visitors plenty of time to enjoy shops and other attractions around the waterfront area and town centre, with parking changes only applying after the two-hour window.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, right, Policy Lead for Finance and Commercial Services, said: “Helensburgh’s new leisure centre is a fantastic facility and we want people to be able to make the most of their time there whether that is going for a swim, working out in the gym or enjoying the new café.
“Free parking for the first two hours will allow local people and their families, as well as visitors to the town, to enjoy their visit without having to rush back to their car.
“With the waterfront development being such an important part of Helensburgh’s appeal, this move will also help to boost the local economy by attracting more customers to the town’s shops and other businesses.”
“In addition to 200 parking spaces, the new car park also offers visitors electric vehicle charging, a bus drop-off point, bike parking and a cycle repair station.”
Meanwhile, still on the visitor front, according to the Short Term Lets Order 2022, all local authorities must introduce a licensing scheme for properties operating as short term lets.
The principle aim is to guarantee basic safety standards are in place across relevant properties in Scotland and to also ensure that the needs and concerns of local communities are considered.
The council developed the scheme for Argyll and Bute with consultation feedback it received from the region’s operators, local residents and visitors.
Under the new arrangements, from 1 October 2022 all new hosts and operators will need a licence to operate a short-term let and can only take bookings and welcome guests once it is in place.
The council is currently recruiting the staff it needs to run the scheme. To allow new short term let businesses to get going, it is prioritising their applications until the full licensing team is in place.
Councillor Keiron Green, left, Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “Short term lets play a significant role in Argyll and Bute’s wider tourism sector which is such an important element of the region’s economy.
“The new licence scheme will ensure that accommodation is in line with all the relevant safety standards for our visitors as well as meeting industry guidelines. It’s important that we also give proper consideration to any of our communities who live close to short term let businesses and address any concerns about anti-social behaviour.”
Any business already providing short term lets must apply for a licence before 1 April 2023.
Full details are available on the council website: Short-term lettings (argyll-bute.gov.uk) .