MOVING around the centre of Ellon by car over the Easter break proved to be a dawdle, as indeed was finding a place to park given the amount of free spaces available.
Being able to park in the Clydesdale Bank was a rare treat, especially as at 09.00 last Friday I was the only person using this town centre car park. A rare event.
I then started asking myself why this should be, particularly as by next week when the schools are back the same area will be chock-a-block from early morning until late afternoon.
So what then is going on? Are teachers and ancillary staff using this car park instead of their own at Ellon Academy, or more likely is the fact that many parents who work in Aberdeen are using this area to park before jumping on a bus?
Either scenarios are in my book not on, leading to mass frustrations when casual users come to park before going to shop in Ellon town centre.
There is of course a solution which I venture will not be acceptable to Aberdeenshire Council who are the principal providers of parking spaces in the town.
Given there are so many spaces which they command and take payment for why don’t they scrub all charges and allow the public, the commuter, and school staff to fight for the freed up parking areas.
Significantly as it stands the parking slots for which we pay generally sit empty, which leads me to believe that a free for all would not end up in chaos, and there would in fact be enough free parking for all, including the casual user who wishes to shop in the town.
I contend it would be workable, especially as rural users would be more inclined to come to shop, not least folk from Newburgh who need to use the two chemists, the library service and of course the health centre.
I challenge Aberdeenshire to at least experiment with the idea, but predict with total confidence that it will be rejected out of hand, proving once again that partnerships are dead and buried.
The fact that town centres throughout the Shire are hurting due to poor patronage has to be an issue, and one the council needs to address before we see more closures on our high streets.
Times are tough, but with some joined up thinking, positive action it need not be all doom and gloom.
Finally there was a time, even in recent years when local authorities welcomed proposals from the public of which I am one, but sadly I fear these days are in the past and there they will remain.