There was a number of articles in last week’s Southern about Kelso, but the one that caught my eye concerned the state of the town’s pavements, and there was a suggestion that lorries use the pavements to navigate Roxburgh Street and Bridge Street.
I am sure this is correct, but there is a bigger issue at stake here and that is the general condition of the town centre.
I don’t deny the merits of public art, but perhaps the issue of parking throughout the town centre needs to be resolved first. The one-way system and the altered parking arrangements have made the town centre more dangerous for pedestrians, through traffic and parking traffic, and makes the town centre appear like a badly-organised car park. In fact it took me more than five minutes to cross Woodmarket recently and even then I had to take my life in my hands to run across the road, otherwise I might still be there.
Vehicles seem to be abandoned wherever there is an opportunity to do so. The double-sided parking in Horsemarket and Woodmarket is ridiculous, particularly when Scottish Borders Council bin lorries are making their tortuous way along. Cars park in the loading zone in Roxburgh Street and there is the insanity of the vehicles that park regularly along The Butts when there is a perfectly good car park at The Knowes, not a minute’s walk away.
I watched a very large foreign lorry stopped in Abbey Row – and I’m guessing he was trying to find his way to the garden centre – while another huge lorry was trying to run out of The Butts into Abbey Row, being hindered by a commercial vehicle parked opposite and cars parked on the street.
Surely someone with some brains can come up with ideas that resolve the directional signs for Floors Castle taking traffic from the north along the very narrow Winchester Row or adding to the chaos in the town centre.
Here are some ideas for starters. In the short term use the empty car park at the old Haldanes store more, the Square should be short-term parking only, open up the top of Roxburgh Street for traffic to turn both into the Cobby and Floors Castle, and return Woodmarket and Horsemarket to single-side parking.