HIGH Profile Cruise Terminal Will Mean Big Loss Of Parking Plus Road Closure For Tourist Coaches

THE multi-million pound cruise passenger terminal, gallery and restaurant planned for Greenock will take up a third of the parking spaces at the Waterfront. Meanwhile coach drop-off arrangements will mean a road closure on days when cruise ships are in port.

Planning documents show that 83 of the 256 parking spaces at the car park, which serves the Waterfront leisure centre and cinema, would be lost to the new building which is proposed for an area near the cinema, beside the river.

The car park capacity reduction would coincide with it being required to accommodate additional members of the public visiting the new gallery and restaurant which would be open all year round. (The floor plan for the restaurant appears to show inside table seating for 148 people plus a bar area with around a dozen seats and an outdoor terrace with 36 seats.)

However, a transport statement produced by consultants SYSTRA as part of the proposal dismisses the loss of parking. It states: "It is noted that a total of 83 car parking spaces will be lost as a result of constructing the new building within the existing Waterfront car park. The existing car park is used for both the cinema and the Waterfront Leisure complex but it operates well within capacity and indeed the operators of the car park (Inverclyde Council) have confirmed that the loss of the 83 parking spaces will not have any operational impact on the running of the existing waterfront facilities. It is not anticipated that there will be any car parking displaced from this area."

Elsewhere in their assessment, SYSTRA state: "The existing car park does not operate anywhere near capacity."

Eighty-three spaces would be lost from the Waterfront car park, seen on Friday morning.

The entrance to the car park would be moved along, almost as far as the walkway that goes into the leisure centre.

It is also proposed to use a section of Customhouse Way as an area for up to 10 coaches at a time dropping off passengers returning from day trips. This would stretch from the Container Way junction, round the corner at the cinema, almost as far as the new Waterfront car park entrance.

A traffic regulation order would operate on days when cruise ships were visiting, meaning that that stretch of road would be closed to private vehicles. A one-way system would be in place from Container Way as far as the entrance to the car park but only for coaches, taxis and cyclists.

Normal vehicles trying to get access to facilities on Customhouse Way, such as the cinema and leisure centre, would be diverted to approach from the A8/Brymner Street side.

There is some confusion in planning documents over when this arrangement would be in place. A design statement from the architects Richard Murphy indicates the closure would last most of the day. It states: "It is envisaged that the order is likely to be in force between the hours of 1130 and 1830 on days of cruise ship operation."

However the SYSTRA transport assessment implies the arrangement would apply for an hour or so in the afternoon and never after 5pm (despite the possibility of coaches being delayed, for example by traffic congestion.)

Their document states: "As the diverted traffic will generally be between the hours of 1600 and 1700 (never after 1700) and not within the critical commuter peak period of 1700 and 1800, it is considered that there will be sufficient capacity at the existing junctions and on the existing road links to accommodate the diverted traffic."

Their assessment that the road network can handle the closure is only based on traffic studies between 4 and 5pm when they counted around 470 vehicles using the affected stretch of road.

Although the terminal hosts cruise ships on around 40 days a year just now, the aim of the whole development is to increase the capacity so that 100 ship visits a year would be possible, although on some days more than one ship might berth.

This stretch of Customhouse Way would be closed to normal traffic when in use as a coach drop-off area. the car park entrance would be moved further east.

The transport statement also predicts problems for cyclists using National Route 75 along the Waterfront. It states: "During the period where buses are dropping off, it may be slightly more challenging for cyclists to pass through this area so we would recommend that clear signage and marking are provided to ensure that cycle access is reinforced and maintained through the short time when passengers are disembarking."

The building is being proposed to tie in with a new cruise ship berthing pontoon planned for the eastern side of the terminal. The application is now awaiting assessment by Inverclyde planning officials. If approved completion is planned for summer 2020.

More information about the project 

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