Nith Ward Labour Councillors Colin Smyth and John Martin have warned Dumfries and Galloway Council not to “grab defeat from the jaws of victory” over Flood Prevention measures in Dumfries , by failing to make adequate provision for alternative car parking in the Whitesands area.
In a report to next week’s meeting of Planning, Housing and Environment Services Committee, Councillors are being asked to approve the Flood prevention proposals to go forward for funding and to note “that a future report will come to this Committee detailing the findings of the recent parking surveys and options that could mitigate the displacement of car parking from the Whitesands”. However, Labour will back the proposals but press for a strengthening of the commitment on car parking. They will seek a clear commitment that the lost car parking will not only be replaced, but that new free parking will be created in the Whitesands/Irish Street area to ensure that the Flood Prevention scheme doesn't impact adversely on businesses in the area.
Nith Ward Labour Councillor Colin Smyth said, “It is clear from the feedback to the proposals that there is a lot of support for tackling the problem of flooding on the Whitesands. However, one of the obvious concerns is the removal of car parking spaces. I think the days of the riverside being just an allday car park have been and gone but it’s no good the council simply saying the issue of alternative car parking will be dealt with in future report. The fear is they will claim there are plenty of other spaces in the town centre or propose some extra spaces, but not be in the vicinity of the Whitesands. It is absolutely no use to businesses in that area to be told there may be more spaces created in other parts of the town. What is important to the cafes and shops on the Whitesands is ensuring that the spaces are replaced in a way that keeps the footfall in the Whitesands, not elsewhere in the town. There is land in and around the Whitesands and Irish Street to make that happen. It would be shocking if the council grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory by losing public support for the Whitesands Flood prevention scheme simply because they failed to come up with proper plan for alternative car parking that has the support of residents and businesses”
Labour will also be pressing for consultation with local residents over the exact details of the proposals for the Dock Park.
Fellow Nith Ward Councillor John Martin said, “I think people are happy that at long last things are moving forward and the decision at the council’s Planning, Housing and Environment committee to approve the scheme to go forward for funding is a step in the right direction. There are some issues that still need to be resolved including how the scheme will work in the Dock Park Linden Grove area. Some residents are understandably concerned about the exact details and it is vital the council consult with those residents and others affected on the final design”.