An innovative scheme to allow mobile home owners to park up free in the centre of Hawick is set to continue amid evidence that it has helped boost tourism in the town.
Five years ago, approval was given for part of the Common Haugh car park to be designated for use by camper van owners during the spring and summer months.
Now, an application from the Hawick Welcome Initiative to continue the scheme has been approved.
That thumbs-up comes after one town councillor hailed the initiative as a “fantastic success”.
Stuart Marshall, an independent member for Hawick and Denholm, said: “Allowing a small number of camper vans to park up overnight in the biggest free car park in the South of Scotland has been a fantastic success, and I, for one, would certainly like to see this continue.
“The feedback from the visitors, some of whom return annually has been amazing.
“This was an initiative which was first put forward by the Hawick Welcome Hosts a few years ago, and it certainly gives our town an added boost when it comes to attracting tourists to our area.
“It is an idea that has been fully supported by all of the Hawick councillors in the past and one which I think should continue to be backed today.
“How fortunate we are in Hawick to have a car park with over 400 free spaces available.
“There are not many towns around these days that can boast of having such an asset.”
In her report approving continuation of the scheme, Julie Hayward, Scottish Borders Council’s lead planning officer, says: “The aim of the project is to encourage visitors to stay within Hawick itself rather than passing through the town to other destinations.
“It is considered that the provision of such a tourist facility benefits local businesses and so contributes to the local economy.
“The site is well located in terms of the centre of Hawick, with the High Street within walking distance of the car park. The facility appears to have been successful, hence the application to renew planning permissions.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer added: “The motor home visitors are very welcome in Hawick and certainly help local businesses and economic growth.”