A BORDERS garage boss has apologised to residents of St Boswells, after an instruction to staff to park their cars off company premises has led to weeks of congestion and inconvenience.
Archie Maclean, managing director of Border Toyota and Lawrie’s garage and filling station at St Boswells was speaking to TheSouthern, after complaints about staff parking between 10 and 20 cars every day along the B6404 road, which runs alongside the village green to where it joins the A68 trunk road.
While there are no parking restrictions in force in this area, the move has caused congestion and inconvenience for other local drivers for the past three weeks since it started.
One local resident told us: “This is causing a great concern and frustration for both access to the school and traffic coming and going from the A68 junction, which at peak times means there can be considerable tailbacks towards the village.
“We would really like to know why this has now happened as they have obviously had alternative parking and perhaps the company would like to have a look at the situation they have caused.”
St Boswells Community Council chairman, Douglas Oliver, says he recently met Mr Maclean to ask for some of the line of cars close to the junction to be pulled back, as well as some of those close to the junction for Springfield Terrace, as the latter is the route used by parents dropping off and collecting children from the local primary school.
“It is an issue over a planning application,” Mr Oliver told TheSouthern this week. “The cars started getting parked along the road about three weeks ago. I went to see Mr Maclean and asked him to pull the cars back from the Buccleuch Hotel end and from Springfield Terrace, because of safety concerns, which he agreed to do.” Border Toyota has been granted planning consent to extend its service department and create additional parking for customers and staff and a storage area for sold vehicles still to go out to customers.
“At the moment we have to store vehicles at our Carlisle facility and at Lawrie’s garage, so we believe our vehicle movements on and off the site [at St Boswells] will decrease because we will have them all on one site,” said Mr Maclean, explaining the advantages of the proposed expansion.
“We are not planning to display any more vehicles for sale and are not expecting to sell any more vehicles,” he added.
However, a condition of the planning consent, imposed by Transport Scotland, is that before the expansion project can take place, sightlines for the exit on to the A68 must be improved.
But Mr Maclean claims it has not been possible to improve the sightline from the garage entrance heading south, as his company has been unable to purchase the necessary parcel of nearby land required.
He says that, as efforts to reach a compromise with Transport Scotland have failed, his staff have been asked to park off the site to ensure enough parking for customers.
“We have asked our staff to make sure they park safely and that they do what they can to co-operate with the St Boswells public. We have also met the local community council and acted on their advice to park away from the school.
“This is not an ideal situation and it is very difficult to park anywhere within St Boswells without causing traffic problems.
“Finally, we get terrific support locally from the public and would take this opportunity to apologise for the inconvenience and to thank them for all their support to date.”
Local Scottish Borders councillor Sandy Scott [Con) has been consulted by owners of nearby properties and says the matter rests with Transport Scotland, not the local authority, because it involves a trunk road.
“Personally, I think it is unacceptable to be parking 15 or 20 cars along this road. It is certainly causing a hazard, no doubt about it,” he told us.
A spokesman for SBC commented: “We’ve not had any word from the school that this is causing a problem, and have not received any complaints from parents. If the cars have valid tax discs and they are not at odds with any parking regulation then they are not committing an offence.”