Rangers and Celtic 'exacerbate' parking problems in Kilmarnock as significant spike in complaints recorded

Supporters heading to Rugby Park on a match day
Supporters heading to Rugby Park on a match day -Credit:Photo credit - Tigarstorm Photography

Restrictions brought into address parking issues around Rugby Park last year have led to an increase in complaints by residents.

A mix of permanent and matchday parking restrictions were put in place in Kilmarnock last summer and have been monitored by the council throughout the season.

In a report to East Ayrshire Council's cabinet, Ayrshire Roads Alliance (ARA) stated that the scheme had 'for the most part' been effective and outlined how it intends to address the issues that have brought in more complaints.

It said: "the council has received a significant increase in complaints from residents particularly from those who reside within the area known locally as the Westmoor Estate to the north of Dundonald Road."

The report says that compliance with the restrictions on matchdays had been high, with emergency exit routes on Rugby Road, South Hamilton Street and Dundonald Road remaining clear.

Permanent restrictions around parking at junctions was also successful, but the report explained that there continued to be issues, particularly when either Celtic or Rangers play Kilmarnock.

"The restrictions were designed to keep the emergency exit routes and other areas such as junctions and cul-de-sacs clear whilst still permitting parking within the general catchment area and as expected, there are still many streets within the catchment area subject to an influx of vehicles during match days.

"However, it is clear there are further areas which should be considered for
match day restrictions.

"The situation within the Westmoor Estate appears to be particularly acute due to a significant concentration of vehicles on match days which has given rise to a marked increase in complaints received by the council."

"This area is regularly used by home supporters but the situation is exacerbated during Old Firm match days."

ARA are now promoting an 18 month temporary traffic order that will allow them to add new matchday waiting restrictions on roads not currently covered. This includes Galrigside Road, Harperland Drive, Arrothill Drive and Rowanhill Place initially, with room for more to be added.

The report adds: "Parking Attendants will enforce the restrictions and officers will monitor and assess their effectiveness and any impact this may have on other areas as a result of vehicle displacement.

"This is a short term solution to address the issues in the immediate period pending the identification and implementation of a permanent solution."

ARA also plan a new role to support the scheme.

The 'Parking Assistant' would work on match days and at other events to assist Parking Attendants and would offer advice to the public to help discourage illegal parking.

While they wouldn't have the power to enforce illegal parking, they would be in position to inform the parking attendant.

The council has also been in discussions with Kilmarnock FC to identify further opportunities to help ease parking congestion. The club has made arrangements for staff to utilise the Gargieston Primary School car park.

Further discussions are ongoing regarding the use of vacant land on Greenholm Street owned by the club chairman for visiting supporters. This facility would be managed by the club itself.

Given the continuing issues, ARA is once again looking at the potential for a residents permit zone, similar to the one at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

A trial run at the end of the 2018/19 football season was not particularly successful, with just 19 residents taking up a permit.

In terms of a permanent solution, officers have again considered the possibility of a resident’s permit zone similar to the exclusion zone associated with Hampden Park in Glasgow.

There were also issues around private ground, no visitor permit option and the level of resource required to police the scheme.

The report adds: "A review of the trial also took into consideration how a wider exclusion zone would operate, the area it would have to cover and the potential effects of vehicle displacement.

"A match day exclusion zone would in effect have to cover the entire Gargieston area encompassing all the streets between Dundonald Road and Holmes Road and there could be further calls to extend to the north
and east of the stadium beyond South Hamilton Street."

Cabinet will consider the report on Wednesday.

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