When Scottish Borders Council asked members of the public to give them their thoughts on transport in the region, they got some interesting responses.
Parking is one of the most frequent complaints received by the police, so it was inevitable that when the council asked “have you noticed a difference in parking behaviour locally since the removal of traffic wardens?”, it reported that “the vast majority of consultees indicated that they had noticed a difference”.
One irate resident replied: “Indiscriminate parking has increased to the point of ridiculousness. Vehicles are sometimes parked for days in places where parking is limited to 30 minutes.”
Other comments read: “people stop where they like”, and “in smaller towns such as Duns and Kelso, it has become very difficult to find a car parking space”.
But one person was happy with the region’s parking arrangements, saying: “We should be encouraging people to stop and park in our town centres, not chase them away with overpaid wardens.”
Disc parking arrangements like those in Northumberland were popular with a number of people, who felt that should be copied in the Borders to restrict the length of time people can stay in one spot.
However, unless there is someone checking the times displayed on the parking discs, it might not be the ideal solution.
Radical solutions suggested included removing all parking immediately outside shops, except for disabled access and pedestrianise town centres as much as possible”.
Disabled parking was generally considered by most people to be adequate, although one disgruntled resident complained that misuse of the blue badge scheme was rife.
“Able-bodied drivers are using vital disabled parking spaces,” they claimed.
“Also, disabled drivers are using the spaces but staying in their vehicle while an able-bodied passenger carries out whatever business they have.
“If a disabled driver used normal parking areas while able-bodied passengers do whatever they need to do, then that would free up vital spaces for the benefit of disabled drivers who do need to use them.”
The transport questionnaire also asked for views on roads, rail, cycling routes, bus routes, paths and access to the countryside and again received an array of answers.
When asked how communities would feel about taking responsibility for managing a proportion of the local network there were a number of positive replies, although it is clear that even those responding positively recognised that adequate resources would need to be provided first.