Town parking is on council’s radar again

Flouting of parking regulations has become more prevalent in some Borders towns since the council decided enforcement should be left to the police.
Flouting of parking regulations has become more prevalent in some Borders towns since the council decided enforcement should be left to the police.

Scottish Borders Council is to re-establish a working group as it makes another attempt to solve the region’s parking problems.

However, the council has stopped short of agreeing “to establish a cost-effective enforcement solution to act as a deterrent in towns blighted by anti-social on-street parking”; a motion submitted to last week’s council meeting on behalf of the SNP opposition group to that effect being rejected by 16 votes to 12.

Instead, council leader Shona Haslam announced that a working group of councillors and officers, first set up in the summer of 2014 when traffic wardens were withdrawn from the region, would be re-established “within the next three months”.

The council’s original working group was wound up in November last year after councillors voted 19-11 to reject its recommendation for the creation of an SBC-run decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) scheme.

Concluding that such a scheme, costing £220,000 to implement and £20,000 a year to run, was “unrealistic”, the council agreed that enforcement should be left to Police Scotland.

The decision came despite a £35,000 survey of parking in Peebles, Innerleithen, West Linton, Galashiels, Lauder, Melrose, Selkirk, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Duns and Eyemouth, commissioned by the council. The results of the survey identified widespread flouting of parking restrictions, particularly by motorists in Kelso, Galashiels and Hawick.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison (Ind, Galashiels and District), executive member for neighbourhoods and localities, conceded the police had “real problems” in enforcing parking regulations, but he added: “We will look at any suggestions which come from the working group, but at this stage we should not commit ourselves to coming up with an enforcement solution.”