Thousands of visitors converging on Falkirk’s latest attraction have caused a parking headache at the Helix.
Spring sunshine and school holidays saw crowds turn out in their droves to visit the Kelpies and enjoy the parkland.
However, a lack of parking spaces – and the introduction of charges to park at the Kelpies car park – saw vehicles abandoned on paths and verges in surroundings streets.
Neighbouring businesses have also found their customer spaces have been nabbed by indiscriminate parkers.
Leisure bosses are now encouraging people to use public transport – and are even suggesting they visit other parks across the district to ease the congestion problem.
The huge appeal of the Kelpies and Helix appears to have even taken those who run them by surprise.
People are using our staff and customer parking spaces. There is also a turning circle for lorries which now has vehicles double parked. It’s a bit of a nightmareGrant Marshall
Thousands of visitors of all ages have visited the park since Easter weekend and yesterday an emergency services day aimed at children brought the busiest day of the year so far.
The chance to watch police horses and dogs in action, try out a fire engine and learn lifesaving techniques saw crowds converge on the greenspace from early morning.
But the huge numbers has brought headaches for those running nearby businesses as their customer parking spaces are used and motorists abandon their vehicles on grass verges and pavements.
Cathy Stack, manager of B&Q in Middlefield, said: “We have seen people using our car park to visit the Helix, but there is also a problem for customers trying to leave and having difficulty getting out because of cars parked on verges.”
Grant Marshall, of RJM Sports in Middlefield Industrial Estate, said: “People are using our staff and customer parking spaces. There is also a turning circle for lorries which now has vehicles double parked. It’s a bit of a nightmare.”
Falkirk Community Trust, which runs the Helix on a day-to-day basis, said it is delighted at its popularity but recognises the parking issues.
General manager Neil Brown said: “We are working closely with Falkirk Stadium to offer as many free parking spaces as possible and have parking stewards on site to help manage traffic.
“We would like to encourage local visitors to take advantage of public transport and car sharing where possible.”
He also urged people to make use of the VisitFalkirk bus which travels between Falkirk High Station, the town centre and Helix every hour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Mr Brown added: “The Trust runs a number of other parks in the area and we encourage visitors to also try Muiravonside, Zetland or Callendar Parks, all of which have play areas, inflatables and snack kiosks.”