Plans for coach bays at St Ninian’s Way have been parked, with a new move to use the High Street as a bus stop for tourists.
Hopes that coach tours could use St Ninian’s Way car park were dashed this week at Linlithgow’s local area committee. After considering various options, the committee decided on a £105,000 solution to increase car parking spaces at St Ninian’s Way by 24 to 71, and create coach parking on the Blackness Road lay-by. Currently this has space for two coaches, but it would be extended to take three.
Seasonal coach parking is also part of the strategy, with a coach bay to be created on the High Street, operating at 8am to 6pm, from May to September. Potential locations are lay-bys on either side of the Vennel, opposite the old Sheriff Court, outside the Auld Hole in the Wall, or outside the Four Mary’s pub. But all of these locations are problematic due to the width of the High Street, and passenger safety.
From April to September 2010, 84 coaches visited Linlithgow Palace with 2557 visitors, and for the same period in 2011, 51 coaches with 1690 people visited. Historic Scotland is in favour of seasonal coach parking as long as it is close to the Cross.
Town coach parking has been freewheeling for the past four years as different options were considered. Coach spaces at St Ninian’s Way were turned down as access was too difficult for large coaches, there were difficulties for coach manoeuvering at Linlithgow Rugby Club car park, and all car parking spaces would be lost, and St Michael’s RC church and Oracle did not want their car parks to be regularly used by coaches.
Discussions are continuing on the seasonal coach parking location, and designs are being drawn up for the new car park layout and the Blackness Road lay-by extension, but plans are still subject to council approval. Provost Tom Kerr said: “This is significant and we have to resolve this. I am disappointed that coach parking at St Ninian’s Way car park will not proceed. The High Street is extremely busy and areas proposed for the seasonal bay will have to be investigated in great detail.”
At Linlithgow’s town management group meeting, Colin Galloway of Linlithgow Union Canal Society said that lack of parking provision meant coach companies did not want to come to Linlithgow. Ron Smith of Burgh Beautiful added there could be concerns about coach tours stopping off in front of local businesses.