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Objectors fail to prevent more parking in Dumfries

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Objectors fail to prevent more parking in Dumfries

DOZENS of objectors failed in a bid to prevent more parking spaces being created in Dumfries as part of the controversial Whitesands flood defence scheme.

The long-running flood prevention scheme was discussed at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, and its critics made their voices heard.

Councillors sitting on the planning committee were asked to approve the local authority’s own plans to vary conditions of planning permission for the project to create a car park on the Greensands.

The council wants to make “improvements” in the area and create “contingency parking” to compensate for the loss of spaces during the construction of the Whitesands flood defence scheme.

But 34 objections were received, primarily from people living in Dumfries, who did not want to see this public open space lost to parking spots.

Loreburn Community Council lodged an objection on various grounds and stated: “The whole Whitesands project is under review. This is a proposal to build car parking for a flood scheme that may never happen.”

Sally Hinchcliffe, convener of Cycling Dumfries, attended the meeting and read out a lengthy statement opposing the plans.

She said: “There is no need to put more parking on the Greensands in order to ease parking in the town centre.

“The application claims that additional parking spaces are needed in advance of any flood schemes because there are times when the Whitesands is unavailable for parking.

“However, we found in our evidence that there is ample space for parking in Dumfries – even when the Whitesands is closed.”

She continued: “All developing the Greensands would do would be to add more parking where it is not wanted.

“Four years ago this council declared a climate emergency, and I feel that the last thing we should be doing is spending money to make it more attractive to drive, instead of investing in bus services and making it more attractive to walkers.”

Three letters from members of the public were also read out, which raised various concerns including road safety, and no assessment being done on extra traffic being generated.

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh proposed that the application be approved, which was seconded by Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson.

Annandale South Councillor Ian Carruthers tabled an amendment calling for it to be refused, which was supported by his Conservatives colleague Ivor Hyslop.

A vote was tied at 8-8, however planning committee chairman, Councillor Jim Dempster, used his casting vote to approve the application.

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