PEDESTRIANS nearly being knocked down, a fire engine in an accident caused by dangerously parked cars, and members of the public using a beach as an open-air toilet.

According to accounts from local Argyll and Bute councillors, those are just some of the events of a weekend of chaos in Luss and Arrochar after huge crowds flocked to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in defiance of lockdown pleas from police and local and national government.

Nicola Sturgeon outlined concerns over visitor numbers at Loch Lomond and other popular visitor spots, and road traffic volumes in the area, at her daily coronavirus briefing earlier this week.

But Lomond North councillors George Freeman and Iain Shonny Paterson have now added worrying detail to those concerns as people living in those small communities fear another influx of visitors during the next spell of warm and sunny weather.

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Councillor Freeman said: "I visited Luss, Arrochar and Tarbet each day to see first-hand what was happening in these communities. I was not surprised to see every spare piece of ground taken up by parked cars.

“Most of those arriving in the Arrochar area disappeared up the hills and it was only their inconsiderate parking that caused serious problems.

“Thankfully Police Scotland did take action against these vehicle owners. At Luss, the community had the additional problem of large numbers of visitors descending on the village and using the shore as an open-air toilet.

“I have to compliment Police Scotland on having a strong presence in the area over the weekend which helped to control some of those who displayed no consideration for others.

“We saw many younger people driving round the village with loud music blaring from their cars.  I had to be quick on Saturday to avoid being knocked down when one of these young drivers came speeding round the corner in Church Road with music blaring.

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“Anyone who knows Luss will be well aware of the problems that the community experiences in good weather when the public descend on the community."

With reference to Luss, Cllr Freeman said it was vital for Argyll and Bute Council to sit down with the community to agree a traffic management plan for the village – something residents have been pleading for for many years.

Meanwhile, Councillor Paterson, who lives in Arrochar, said an incident involving the village's retained fire crew on Sunday, May 31 illustrated the potentially serious consequences of people ignoring the government's lockdown guidelines.

He said: “A local fire engine on its way to an incident was involved in a road traffic accident at the old torpedo range north entrance [on the A83], due to badly and dangerously parked vehicles.

“This illustrates the potential grave consequences in ignoring the lockdown guidelines.

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"Fortunately the incident that the fire service were called to was not of a serious nature, but it could have been.

“I would not like it on my conscience that my irresponsible behaviour cost someone their life due to emergency services being delayed.

"Lockdown rules will be reinstated if people do not follow guidelines.

“Argyll and Bute has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and we would dearly want it kept that way.

“There are no facilities open, including car parks. You are putting yourself and others at risk."

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Referring specifically to the problems in Luss, an Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “We share the community council’s wish to improve the situation. We will take the revised traffic regulation order, as agreed with the community council, to the area committee as soon as possible.

“This would not however address all issues that arose at the weekend.

"We are therefore looking at what we can do in the immediate term – we will be engaging with Luss Community Council and continue to work with the National Park and Police Scotland in order to best manage the issues.

“We are dedicating extra resources to Luss this weekend, by having more wardens on site, and we are asking people to stay away for now and follow the guidance.”

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