Hawick traders calling for action to keep loading bays clear
Thoughtless drivers parking up all day in Hawick High Street are still making life tough for town centre retailers, they say.
Delivery drivers are facing a struggle to drop off supplies to retail outlets because loading bays are often taken up by cars parked up for long periods of time.
The problem has been exacerbated by the withdrawal of traffic wardens to patrol the High Street, and other town centres in the Borders, several years ago.
Although parking motorists are flouting on-street parking regulations, police officers are rarely around to enforce the rules, according to traders.
Late last year, a petition calling for action to tackle the problem was submitted to the Scottish Borders Council’s petitions and deputations committee.
That led to letters being sent out to Hawick residents and businesses, encouraging people to park their cars away from the main street.
Despite that warning, the problem shows no sign of abating, as Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson has been reminded by angry shopkeepers demanding action.
On a visit to the High Street, he was approached by traders disgruntled about continued flouting of the law.
Mr Paterson said: “I was walking along the street when I was stopped by a shopkeeper who was telling me that it is getting more and more difficult to get deliveries to the shop.
“Delivery drivers are having to go around the town a couple of times before they could get parked on the High Street.
“I have to ask, with the biggest free car park in the Borders, why is it that some people still park their cars on the street all day?
“Shopkeepers were telling me that they were told by the police that if someone was parked illegally in a loading bay designated as such, they would prosecute if they saw it happening, but my constituents are still waiting for that to happen, and I’m not sure how active the police are on the High Street.”
There have been previous calls for a decriminalised parking enforcement set-up to be introduced.
That would involve wardens being employed by the council, touring the Borders and issuing tickets, but such a plan has never got off the ground, mainly because of the costs involved.