Call for common sense approach to quay solution

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is urging Dumfries and Galloway Council to adopt a “common sense” solution to concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over access to Stranraer quayside by vehicles.

A recent report to the Councils’ Harbours Sub Committee last month revealed that a visit to Stranraer Harbour by the HSE, as part of programme of visits to harbour’s across Scotland, recommended that the council should undertake a fundamental review of the pedestrian and vehicle movements around the harbour area.

In response Dumfries and Galloway Council proposed a number of changes including painting hazard lines 2m from the quays edge (along with warning signs), fencing off the boat hoist area when it is in use and installing a physical barrier similar to the one in place at Kirkcudbright harbour which would restrict vehicle access to the west pier area.

The council is now consulting on the issue and Colin Smyth is urging them to reconsider the plan for a barrier and instead consider proposals from Stranraer West Pier Community Group including parking bays away from the quayside.

Mr Smyth said, “Health and safety has to be the absolute priority and given the fact there is a huge car park next to the West Pier, there isn’t a major need for many private vehicles to go down to the pier. However, a number of local residents have contacted me expressing concern that the proposal for a physical barrier effectively restricting all private vehicles accessing the pier area is an overreaction and instead the Stranraer West Pier Community Group have put forward alternative proposals. I would urge the council to consider these suggestions as part of the consultation and adopt a common sense approach which is acceptable to residents and the Health and Safety Executive. The West Pier is an important part of Stranraer and the waterfront’s heritage and I had the privilege of carrying out the official re-opening of the pier as a councillor in 2013 after we invested £650,000 in it’s refurbishment. We should be encouraging as many people as possible to visit the pier and take advantage of the growing new facilities at the Waterfront and avoid as far as possible any restrictions in access.”