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Free parking by Highland capital landmark building during the festive period is ‘token gesture’ says businesswoman

By Ian Duncan

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Denise Collins in the council car park on Castle Street.
Denise Collins in the council car park on Castle Street.

Free parking at the Inverness Town House during the festive period has been criticised by a city centre businesswoman.

Denise Collins, of the Castle Gallery, has been campaigning for the car park to be available to the public 24/7 and not reserved for exclusive daytime Highland councillor and council staff use.

Highland Council has announced that until Tuesday, January 2, motorists can take advantage of a free maximum 30 minutes stay, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, in the front part of the car park.

Mrs Collins described the move as a “token gesture” that would do very little to support the business community in the run up to and during the festive season because 30 minutes was not long enough for most activities.

She added: “It is yet more confusion regarding parking in the Castle Street car park to add to the badly constructed notices already displayed within and around the car park.”

Mrs Collins said that to truly support city centre businesses the time needed to be at least two hours. She added: “I am not impressed at all as these measures do nothing to support the economic recovery from the pandemic for those small, independent businesses on Castle Street.”

A council spokesman said the 30 minutes maximum stay parking related to the eight bays along the front of the car park next to the pavement and new signs should now be in place.

He said: “The decision was taken to restrict the free parking duration of stay to 30 minutes during business hours as these eight bays are intended to be used for short-stay duration to assist local business with pick-up/drop-off space to assist with delivery and customer collections.”

He added the arrangement was agreed in consultation with local partners to ease disruption.

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