Businesses worried over car park change

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CONCERNS have continued to grow about plans to make the Marketgate car park a short stay facility with local businesses now voicing their opposition.

As reported in last week’s Herald, Angus Council is proposing to limit cars to a two-hour stay in a bid to free up spaces and increase their turnover for shoppers and tourists.

Residents have already spoken out about the plans, worried that they will have nowhere to leave their cars.

And now two long standing businesses have joined the list of people opposed to the changes.

Heinz Voigt, of the Voigt Partnership, and Lindsay Mudie, partner at Commercial and Agricultural Insurance Brokers, both based in the Erskine Church in Commerce Street are worried the plans could affect their businesses, with staff, clients and customers potentially left with nowhere to park.

Both companies, which have been running for more than 30 years, have 20 staff between them and say they bring just as much investment to Arbroath, if not more than shoppers or tourists.

Currently, the Erskine Church building they operate from is undergoing a £500,000 renovation by the Voigt Partnership that will see the creation of five new office units and a wine bar and bistro at the back of the Webster Memorial Theatre.

And Mr Voigt said: “I employ eight staff, four who travel to work from outside the town and we have invested half-a-million pounds here creating five additional office units and a wine bar and bistro, where the parking in Marketgate car park was one of the advantages.

“The plans will not help business, and we already pay substantial business rates.

“We aren’t saying we want something for nothing. Even paying for a permit to park in there all day could be a solution that will suit everybody.”

The idea to make the Marketgate car park short stay is because it is the first car park people entering the town centre will come across and will therefore encourage shoppers on to the High Street.

But Mr Mudie explained: “I support boosting tourism here but this car park is at the business end of the town whereas the shops and tourist attractions such as the Abbey are at the other end.

“Even then two hours isn’t a long time to see all the attractions in Arbroath or go to a weekday matinee performance at the Webster Theatre.

“The local business people shouldn’t be overlooked in favour of shoppers or tourists who just might visit the town.”

In a council report, it says that people used to parking all day in the Marketgate car park would be able to find alternative spaces in surrounding streets.

But Mr Voigt isn’t so sure that will be the case.

He added: “The surrounding streets such as John Street and Seagate are already full.

“We have major concerns about the repercussions of people trying to park their cars and householders not being able to park outside their doors.

“And we are worried it could lead to conflict and tears.”

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1