Light at the end of tunnel over congestion

A MOTION to look again at the provision of a car park at Arbroath Infirmary was adopted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting of Angus Council’s infrastructure services committee in Forfar.

It was proposed by local councillor Alex King and seconded by Councillor Bob Spink.

Councillor King said that parking congestion in the area around the Infirmary has now spread to surrounding streets. It is difficult, he explained, to find a parking space in Roseberry Place and the congestion is also visible in Rose Street and Alexandra Place as well.

He continued: “The problem is getting so bad that some local drivers who know how difficult parking is outside the Infirmary now get someone else to take them there for their appointment and pick them up afterwards.

“The clinics now being run at Arbroath Infirmary serve patients from a wide area of Angus including Montrose, Kirriemuir, Forfar, Carnoustie and Monifieth.

“What has happened in the two years since Councillor Spink and I first raised the question of finding an answer to the parking congestion around Arbroath Infirmary? The answer is simple. Not a lot!

“Two years of procrastination and delay but with no real, practical steps being agreed towards getting a solution on the ground.

“Now the public are getting tired of waiting and are becoming more and more vociferous in their demands for a solution to the parking problems.

“These complaints took on a new lease of life after the Arbroath Herald published an article on January 14 which stated categorically that NHS Tayside had confirmed there were no current plans to provide more parking at Arbroath Infirmary.

“That press article is now contradicted by the letter received by the director of infrastructure services from Susan Wilson, general manager of Angus CHP, who says that NHS Tayside do plan to improve parking at Arbroath Infirmary, but that: ‘There is no resource and therefore no plan to carry out this improvement at the moment’.”

Councillor King called on the Alliance members who represent Arbroath wards:

* To agree with the rest of the Arbroath members that something needs to be done, sooner rather than later, to relieve the car parking congestion at Arbroath Infirmary.

* To agree to the use of the Common Good land opposite the Infirmary for this purpose.

* To instruct the head of finance to bring forward funding options for this car park provision.

Councillor Spink told the committee: “I am happy to again second Councillor King as I did two years ago, and happy that the principle of the use of a piece of Common Good ground to provide a car park at the infirmary, which was the stumbling block for some, now appears to be accepted. Had it been so at the time and had we gone it alone as a council, we may have been using that car park by now, but we are where we are.

“Members will remember I never supported the NHS proposal although the principle was fine. There was simply not enough room available within the hospital grounds to solve the parking problems of the area then or now, and that’s without the uncertainty of funding.

“If cost is a problem then we must prioritise to find the funds and explore all options, but first of all we must acknowledge where we want to be and work together to get there.

He concluded: “A car park at the infirmary sufficient for our needs was estimated by the head of roads last year to cost £65,000 to £70,000.”