Outer Hebrides’ to lose only traffic warden

Stornoway. Picture: Creative Commons
Stornoway. Picture: Creative Commons
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IT APPEARS to be the end of the road for the Outer Hebrides’ only traffic warden.

The current female warden has patrolled the streets of Stornoway, the isles’ only town, for years.

Western Isles Council had agreed to support the post along with Police Scotland for the next 18 months, but the police force has now decided to end the move.

The council is now expected to take over the responsibility for parking offences and other matters currently dealt with by the sole warden.

A statement from the council said: “We are raising the matter of traffic warden provision with the chief constable following a decision by Police Scotland not to support the temporary arrangement for funding as previously agreed.

“Police Scotland is not now willing to support the temporary 18-month arrangement which had been reached with us and other partners to enable provision of traffic warden services in Stornoway to continue.”

Last night, a Stornoway hotel worker said the loss of the traffic warden could have serious repercussions in the town.

She said: “The restrictions that are in place with regard to the yellow lines do need policing. People tend to use and abuse them, but it is a small town, it’s not the middle of London where people get irate and start shouting at each other – attitudes are a lot easier going.

“But as it stands, there’s an argument that we need two wardens to enforce the yellow lines.

“Our hotel is on the main drag and there is a constant stream of traffic driving through the town, and come Easter with the start of the tourist season it will get even busier.

“It’s one of those things where people won’t think anything of it until they’re affected by it. As it is, I find for an island this size there’s an excessive number of cars on the road.”

Another resident said: “I had heard about this last week, but there’s not much been said about it generally – it does seem very strange as it’s just one woman and it can get really busy in the town centre. Also, they keep changing the parking layout and it can catch people out.”

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant described the move as “a slap in the face”.

She said: “This represents a change of position by Police Scotland. For partners to have put time and effort into pulling together this proposal and trying to make it work for the good of the Western Isles and to be now told that Police Scotland are pulling out of this commitment is frankly a slap in the face for them all.

“I have written to the chief constable to ask for clarity around this decision. To give a commitment and then pull out of it without a full and frank discussion and good reason is not acceptable.”

Assistant chief constable Wayne Mawson said: “Discussions are ongoing with a small number of local authorities who have corresponded with us over the change of traffic warden provision.”