Furious Duck Bay employees have hit out at plans to introduce parking charges at the lochside venue, as they face the potential of having to pay almost £500 a year to park at work.
Plans from Argyll and Bute Council to bring in paid parking at the popular hotel, restaurant and beauty spot near Arden are set for public consultation later this year - having initially prompted an angry reaction from hotel chief Alan Cawley in 2019.
Speaking to the Lennox at the time, he said: “I think this is a terrible idea. What exactly is it that people are paying for?
“There are no plans to provide any provisions or amenities for people. It’s a disgrace.”
Now employees have written to the local authority to express their dismay at the news that proposals are back on the table, with workers facing a bill of £489 for an annual car parking pass.
Gemma King, who has worked at the venue since 2007, said: “ I am horrified by what is proposed.
“As I see it, and I am struggling to see any other option here, it is the intent to penalise those who regularly visit Duck Bay and that is the staff – how can that be justified?
“The permit that is being offered will provide parking all year - but with no guaranteed spot, so it is very likely you could be paying through the summer for a space that you can’t use.
“Categorically, I do not have the means to cover the expenditure - they are looking to charge me what amounts to more annually than my road tax and fully comprehensive insurance combined.
“The hospitality industry is on its knees after the past year - employees are in a very real and current danger of losing their livelihoods - and the council are looking to discourage people from visiting us and penalise employees for working here.
“My whole family and young child’s quality of life will be negatively affected by this, together with the vast majority of my colleagues.”
Gemma’s colleague Hayley Sneddon, 24, meanwhile said that the charges could force her to leave her role at Duck Bay.
She said: “The proposed charges of £1.20 per hour between the hours of 9am and 6pm would mean a little less than £11 a day for me to park safely at my place of work. As an employee who regularly works six days a week, this would mean a little less than £70 a week to park at my work.
“I am on minimum wage, running my own home, my own car, and have the same kind of bills that everyone else has.
“How can almost £300 a month to park safely at my work be justified? This would be one third of my wage. Every month. A figure that is not far from the rent I pay to live in my home. ”
In response Stephen Campopiano, roads manager for Argyll and Bute Council, said: “We have undertaken a statutory consultation and interested parties (including the Cawley Hotel group) for parking places and charges for on-street and off-street parking at Auchendennan Road and Duck Bay which closed for responses on March 26 ; therefore the emerging proposals are not under consultation at this time.
“We are, however, anticipating the next stage of the formal statutory process in the near future and we would be pleased to log the comments received as a formal objection to the proposed parking charges at that time.
“We are working with a number of stakeholders including the Cawley Hotel group by informing the final traffic management proposals.
“The public consultation is an important stage as this will allow us to formally receive objections.
“Following receipt of objections, we will engage with objectors and key stakeholders to address any substantive concerns.
“We would anticipate that proposals will support increased tourist footfall and our economy, that are vital to local businesses, like the Cawley group, while preserving our environment by supporting sustainable transport.
“This also ensures appropriate and available parking that enables safe access and egress of all vehicles including emergency vehicles and public transport.
“We would be grateful if those concerned would consider registering formal objections at the appropriate stage by letter.”
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