THERE could be good news on the horizon for Helensburgh drivers after proposals were unveiled for new monthly parking permits in Argyll and Bute – costing less than the projected cost of a weekly ticket.

Argyll and Bute Council members will debate the plans for new monthly and weekly permits when the authority’s policy and resources committee meets on Thursday, February 14.

If the scheme is approved, a pilot will be held in the Oban Lorn and the Isles area for one year – and if the regime is deemed a success, the new arrangements would be rolled out across Argyll and Bute.

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The authority currently charges for off-street car parking in areas with the greatest demand, with permits for three, six, nine and 12 months available alongside daily tickets.

 Under the new proposals, a one-month pass would cost £60, while a weekly permit in Helensburgh and Lomond could set drivers back £64.90 depending on inflation.

A weekly permit, for use in any area car park, is proposed to be introduced costing £30 should the pilot be successful – but a report to Thursday’s committee meeting states that this is not intended to replace the permits currently on offer.

The council’s executive director of development and infrastructure Pippa Milne said: “This report is proposing to offer a greater choice to individuals wishing to use council car parks.

“This greater choice will be offered via the introduction of weekly and monthly parking permits for off-street car parks.

“It is proposed that the weekly and monthly parking permits will be initially introduced in the Oban, Lorn and the Isles area on a trial basis.

“This will allow the demand for these shorter duration parking permits to be monitored together with any implications for parking income.

“The pilot scheme would restrict the use of these shorter duration tickets to specified car parks within the Oban, Lorn and the Isles area.

“Parking permit arrangments in all other areas will remain unchanged until the effectiveness of the pilot has been reviewed.”

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A table is published as part of the document which shows that the proposed charge for a monthly permit is £60.

But a weekly ticket for a car park in Helensburgh and Lomond, along with Oban, Lorn and the Isles, is projected at £64.90, including possible inflation added for 2019/20.

On the potential for a £30 weekly parking ticket, Ms Milne added: “The intended use of this ticket is for customers who require to utilise our car parks for periods of up to a week, but it is not intended to replace the permits we offer.

“This will cater for those using an area as a base, e.g. visiting the islands (cycling perhaps), yachting or tourism in and around a location.”

The report also acknowledges that there is a risk of “potential to under recover car parking income due to offering weekly and monthly tickets at a reduced rate from that of the current daily charge”.