Visitors to Loch Lomond beauty spot face three penalty points amid car ban plan

Visitors who drive into a village on the shores of Loch Lomond face three penalty points under a tough plan to restrict traffic at the beauty spot.

Cones have been put down by residents to block visitors from parking in the centre of the village. PIC: John Devlin

Tight new rules to prohibit driving in the historic centre of Luss are now being decided by Argyll and Bute Council following consultation.

It follows a long campaign by the community council to reduce visitor traffic in the picturesque spot by the water, with efforts intensifying after large numbers of lockdown breakers headed there during the pandemic.

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But one businesswoman, who will have to pay more than £480 for each staff parking permit under the rules, says it sends out the wrong message about Luss and raises questions about the fairness of the traffic ban.

The new 250-space car park opened by Luss Estates, which costs £1 an hour. PIC: John Devlin.

Dave Pretswell, convener of Luss and Arden Community Council, said tough action was needed given the village – with a population of 200 – now had around 750,000 visitors a year.

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Mr Pretswell said: “What you have is every car parking space in Luss having a car in it and then a constant stream of cars going around the village looking for spaces that aren’t there.

"We really had to pressure Argyll and Bute Council to use emergency Covid powers to put some measures in place. We had a situation during the pandemic when Luss was inundated with visitors, despite travel restrictions.

Temporary rules are in place with permit-only parking allowed in the centre of Luss but a new scheme under consideration will leave motorists with three penalty points if they try and enter the heart of the village. PIC: John Devlin.

"Luss has become such a tourist magnet. It’s a beautiful place and it has become so widely known due to social media. But the quality of life of people who live in Luss has deteriorated massively, families have left.”

Mr Pretswell said he was “delighted” non-resident drivers could get three penalty points if they head into the village.

But he added: “We really don’t want to be painted as a place that hates visitors as it certainly is not the case. Our interest is protecting the residents who live here.”

A Temporary Traffic Road Order is now in place, with significant numbers of parking tickets now issued to those without a permit.

To help cope with demand, a 250-space car park has been opened up by the landowner, Luss Estates. PIC: John Devlin.

The order is based on a scheme co-financed by the community council and Luss Estates, with it broadly adopted by Argyll and Bute Council last July as lockdown lifted.

It is now the basis of the proposed permanent order, which also now includes the ban on non-resident traffic.

Meanwhile, Luss Estates has opened a 250-space car park to the south of the village that costs visitors £1 an hour to use. A council car park is also in operation.

Rowena Ferguson, owner of the Coach House Coffee Shop, claimed businesses had not been properly consulted on the scheme pushed by the community council and Luss Estates.

The new car park at Luss.

She said: "It does not reflect the views of the full community. I didn’t know it was happening until the first day back after the first lockdown when I am trying to get the business up and running.

“My staff now have no parking and have been told they must pay £489 annually for a permit. Tradesmen visiting my business are liable for ticketing and my regular customers with mobility issues are very concerned."

She added: “Luss is a little jewel, people just want to come here. It should be open for everyone.”

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