What does Lanark need most - more homes or more car parking spaces?
That question was at the heart of a lengthy debate at the latest meeting of Lanark Community Council, discussing its response to a planning application from the Clyde Valley Housing Association to build eight houses and 24 flats for rent on the site of the former Wallace Express transport depot on Hyndford Road.
Concern was expressed at the meeting that 40 car parking spaces were to be provided in the new development, one each for residents plus eight ‘visitor’ places.
This was largely dismissed by council chairman Frank Gunning, who said: “If you want more car parking spaces on that site, you’ll have to reduce the number of homes being built. And Lanark has a desperate need for more affordable rented housing.
“In any case, any family that can afford to run two cars surely doesn’t need social housing.”
However, some council members still felt 40 spaces too few and feared that there would be on-street parking, causing a hazard on the busy Hyndford Road, the main route out of Lanark to the Upper ward and Douglas Valley.
Some were concerned that it might encourage parking in the adjoining Lanark Cemetery, South Lanarkshire Council member Catherine McClymont revealing that the cemetery gates would not be locked at nights in the future due to SLC financial savings.
After the chairman remarked that “people with two cars should be able to afford to buy their own homes”, his vice-chairman, Leonard Gray said that today’s parking problems in streets such as Rhyber Avenue and Smyllum Road dated back to the days when council housing was built with no thought to tenants ever being able to afford cars; now many of the families living in these houses were two or even three car families.
It was decided to express concern to SLC at the number of parking spaces with the suggestion that some of the planned landscaping in the development be removed to make way for more spaces.