Kelso traders’ concern over Bridge St parking

There are concerns over a lack of parking Kelso’s Bridge Street, with some councillors of the opinion its bus stop could be scrapped.

Speaking at this month’s meeting of Kelso Community Council, local traders’ chairman Michael Ballantyne had raised concerns about the situation.

Mr Ballantyne told councillors that he had received several complaints recently from a number of traders in Bridge Street who were not happy with the idea of a taxi rank being located there.

“They feel there’s too few parking spaces as it is and this will take customers away from Bridge Street,” he said.

“Maybe it’s one for the stakeholders group,” he said, referring to the regular gathering of organisations in the town, and which this month meets tonight (Thursday).

And some councillors thought the bus stop in the street was unnecessary and could be freed up for additional car parking spaces.

Councillor Dean Weatherston said he did not see any need for the bus stop, which is sited outside the Pharlanne restaurant and delicatessen.

And Provost John Bassett also felt the Bridge Street bus stop could be done away with as a new one will soon only be 50m away.

“So I think we could lose that one [Bridge Street],” he said.

But Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston added: “The Bridge Street community wants to keep a bus stop there; they want people being dropped off there.”

Speaking to The Southern this week, Mr Weatherston told us: “I think Michael [Ballantyne] said some of the traders in Bridge Street were keen to have more parking and were wondering if we need the bus stop. I personally would prefer to wait until the new gap site was finished and the bus stance was back up to the Black Swan on both Horsemarket and Woodmarket.

“You then could look at the Bridge Street bus stop and ask people if it was needed; we have had our fingers burned before trying to please one group of people and ending up upsetting others.

“I appreciate there is a lack of parking on Bridge Street, more so at the abbey end, and if the majority of shopkeepers were in agreement then I am sure it could be looked at.

“But I would be more comfortable if the main bus stop was back in its central position. Just now, if there was no bus stop on Bridge Street, it’s a long walk back for someone wanting to shop in the Bridge Street area.”