CONCERNS are continuing among Helensburgh’s business comnunity about coach parking at the proposed new waterfront development – despite plans including two long-term spaces.

Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Clark described the coach parking provision in Argyll and Bute Council’s formal planning application as “laughable” after the plans were officially published on the council’s website this week.

Mr Clark said it was important that business owners in Helensburgh submit comments to the local authority on the application ahead of the Friday, August 24 deadline for comments.

A drawing of the proposed site does not highlight any long-term coach parking spaces, only numbering a drop-off point at the side of the potential building.

But a design and access statement, also part of the documentation available through the council’s website, says: “Provision has been made for a coach drop-off/pick-up location east of the building capable of accommodating two coaches simultaneously.

“A further two long-stay parking spaces are provided on either side of the entrance.”

A large layby, of similar size to the marked coach drop-off point, is visible as part of the plans, close to the promenade, but is not numbered.

Mr Clark told the Advertiser: “Helensburgh gets up to five or six coaches a day. If there are only two spaces, that will cost retailers and cafes £500,000 a year.

“We will be making a submission and if any retailers think that plans will hurt their business, they should have their say as well.

“To have more long-stay coach parking spaces would cost nothing. It is just re-shaping paint.”

The Chamber of Commerce had previously voiced concerns that coach parties would not come to Helensburgh if they were unable to park long-term in the town centre.

Fears were expressed that coaches may have to park at Station Road in Craigendoran, or at the rugby club at Rhu Road Higher.

Councillor Ellen Morton said of the coach parking concerns: “If it becomes an issue with coaches visiting Helensburgh then it is something we can revisit and look at.

“Coaches visiting Glasgow do not all park in the centre of the city, or if they are visiting Edinburgh Castle, they park away from there and come back.”