Inverness coach bays to be made permanent

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An Inverness street will become a permanent drop-off zone for coach passengers – despite a warning of “chaos” from a city centre councillor.

As previously reported in CBW, temporary coach bays have been in place near the cathedral on Ardross Street to cater for tourists visiting the city on tours since last summer.

Now the council is to start the process of turning the street into a permanent drop-off zone for tourists – and will also appoint a ‘coach ambassador’ jointly with Inverness Bid to monitor the street – according to The Press and Journal.

However, Cllr Donnie Kerr, Inverness Central, said that the street’s 11 bays were not enough to cope and there had frequently been “chaos” when multiple coaches tried to drop off passengers at once.

He said that at one point last summer 26 coaches carrying cruise ship passengers had blocked the street, while he also called for greater enforcement to stop coaches parking in Ardross Street overnight. He said that problems had been caused by cars being left in coach drop-off areas after the cut-off point of 1000hrs – and argued that other locations should be considered before granting a permanent order.

Earlier attempts to find a permanent drop-off ruled out locations at the St Andrew’s Cathedral car park, Church Street, Bank Street and Morrisons supermarket car park.

Mr Kerr’s ward colleague Janet Campbell supported his amendment saying she had “misgivings” about making Ardross Street a permanent drop-off.

However, the committee voted 10-7 in favour of starting the process of granting a permanent traffic order for Ardross Street.

Cllr Thomas Prag, Inverness South, argued that not starting the lengthy process of applying for a permanent road order would result in problems later down the line. He said: “By postponing it all we would do is create a complication later. We simply need to grasp the nettle.”

Reacting to the news, Paul White, CPT Director of Government Relations, Europe and Communications Manager for Scotland told CBW: “CPT has been working with Highland Council on a package of measures to improve coach facilities in Inverness. As such, we welcome the introduction of permanent coach drop-off bays on Ardross Street. CPT appreciates that Cllr Kerr would like greater enforcement to stop coaches parking overnight on Ardross Street but would add that greater enforcement is also required to tackle the problem of cars parking in coach bays.

“We would remind operators that overnight coach parking facilities are currently available in Inverness at the D&E Coaches premises on Longman Drive. Directions to this location and details on the procedure for booking overnight parking are available on the CPT Coach parking locator which is accessible on the CPT website.”