Hopes dashed for festive shopping car park reprieve

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A GALASHIELS car park will be closed for Christmas shoppers for the next two weekends, despite pleas from the town’s community council chairman.

Bill White has hit out at the number of spaces lost at Stirling Street because of the ongoing Galashiels Inner Relief Road (GIRR) project.

But his call for the space to be temporarily opened to encourage trade for the town’s businesses in the busiest shopping period of the year have been dismissed by Scottish Borders Council (SBC).

At the community council’s December meeting, Mr White also criticised the number of parking plots which will be lost at Stirling Street. He said: “At the road consultation, we were told one or two parking spaces would be removed. Instead it looks like it could be more like 12.

“The next two weekends are prime time for Christmas shopping and we need the parking spaces open.”

However, Ewan Doyle, programme manager at SBC told us: “It will not be possible to have the car park open for Christmas.

“Works within the car park are not yet complete and there are too many potential trip hazards for it to be opened up safely.

“In addition, the new parking arrangement isn’t marked out and the parking meter has been removed. SBC Contracts will be working in the vicinity up to the Christmas break.”

Mr Doyle added: “It is currently proposed that up to 13 extra spaces will be provided between Currie Road and Anderson’s Chambers and around 17 spaces between Anderson’s Chambers and Cornmill Square as part of GIRR phase 4 [town centre improvements] in 2012/13.”

An SBC spokesman said installation of a new gas main at the Bridge Place, High Buckholmside and Ladhope Vale area of the town had been completed ahead of its delayed schedule.

Initially the work was due to be finish last week but workmen looked set to fall behind.

However, “tireless” efforts by SBC and Scottish Gas staff meant that last Friday the work was completed.

The SBC spokesman continued: “There will be minor lane restrictions over the Christmas period to allow drainage and lighting works to take place but traffic lights are not expected to be required.

“Works to complete the gas main connections will begin on January 4 with the remainder of the GIRR works.

“SBC would like to thank local residents and visitors for their continued patience while work on the inner relief road project takes place.”