Council moves to ease St Boswell’s traffic troubles

news that a new traffic order to help ease parking problems in St Boswells was passed by councillors, has been welcomed.

The February meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s Cheviot area committee, which was held in Heiton Village Hall, approved recommended amendments to the existing St Boswells traffic regulation order (TRO).

Parking and loading issues have been causing problems in the village for a number of years.

The main area of difficulty is outside the Co-op in the village’s Main Street, where delivery lorries unloading goods for the store regularly park on the pavement, causing problems for road users and pedestrians.

As a consequence, officers from SBC’s environmental and infrastructure service together with local councillors, agreed changes should be made to the village’s TRO in the immediate vicinity of the Co-op, involving the introduction of a a time-shared parking/loading area opposite the store.

The other areas included in the new TRO are a mixture of reinstatement of existing restrictions and the introduction of a total parking ban in Braeheads Road, Jean Lawrie Court and Hamilton Place.

Statutory consultations on the proposals were carried out in 2009, but it was not until late last year – because of staff changes at the Co-op – that the issues were finally discussed by council officials and Co-op representatives.

There were some fears among local residents over any loss of parking, but these were allayed after a visit by council officials.

However, objectors maintained their opposition to the scheme because of their concerns that the enforcement of restrictions would lead to higher speeds through the village, as any cars occasionally parked on the south side of Main Street acted as traffic calming.

While council officials conceded some traffic calming was provided by this situation, they said because parking is already permitted on the north side, it means the available carriageway width is constrained if vehicles park on both sides and introduced an element of risk when parked on the footway.

Local community council chairperson, Alison Reed, told TheSouthern that the community council had wanted the existing yellow lines repainted.

“When the map for the consultation was first produced, the photocopying was so bad it looked like there wouldn’t be any parking allowed at all in the village, so that caused a bit of a hiatus,” Mrs Reed explained.

“This is mainly a renewing of the existing TRO, involving the repainting of some double yellow lines to protect the exits from the backs of some of the houses.

“The problem had been getting really bad, with people parking right up to the junctions and people ignoring some of the double yellow lines. The streets are packed with cars at night.”

Mrs Reed does not think the problems caused by Co-op lorries parking outside the store will ever be fully resolved.

“We’ll never sort that problem completely. There is a no-parking area opposite which is supposed to be left clear so that two vehicles can pass each other.

“What we don’t want though, is to lose the Co-op or any of our other shops.”

Mrs Reed added that, while the main road through the village was often gridlocked during the morning and evening rush hours, this was usually only for a few minutes at a time.

“Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing – it makes people breathe a bit more and take things slower.”

Local Scottish Borders councillor Sandy Scott (Jedburgh and District SNP), told us: “This has been out for consultation for what seems like ages. There has been a lot of imput into the traffic order and it was finally given the go ahead at the last St Boswells Community Council meeting.”

His fellow ward member, Jim Brown (SNP), said he was pleased to hear that the TRO was at last being adjusted.

“There have been long-running problems with deliveries outside the Co-op and also inconsiderate longer-term parking in passing places towards the east end of the village.

“Provided drivers obey the restrictions introduced in this new TRO, we should hopefully see vast improvements within the village.”