Selfish parking is hitting traders hard

Indiscriminate and lengthy parking on the High Street is affecting traders on a daily basis.

And several local shop owners are calling on Police Scotland to step up efforts to eliminate rogue parking.

Hawick has been without a traffic warden since March 2014 and, according to one shopkeeper, it’s having a real effect on his business.

Speaking to the Hawick News this week, local butcher James Pringle said: “My business relies on people being able to stop and shop, but they are being prevented from doing so because of parked cars. This is the biggest issue affecting my business at the moment.”

And another High Street trader added: “There is a growing problem with people abusing the fact that we have no traffic warden and no visible deterrent. They are being allowed to abuse the parking restrictions. I have seen a huge difference since the town lost its traffic warden. Anything that restricts footfall is bad news.”

Several other shopkeepers reiterated the concerns and responding to questions from the Hawick News, local police inspector Robbie Noble said: “We are continuing to work with our local partners to ensure road restrictions in Hawick are adhered to.

“Regular patrols are being carried out and officers have been enforcing restrictions with tickets issued, including to local business owners.”

And Inspector Noble added: “Anyone who sees motorists failing to observe these restrictions should report the matter to police.”

Speaking this week, Councillor Ron Smith told the Hawick News that SBC is still looking into decriminalised parking.

He said: “I’ve been pleased by the robust discussion which has taken place between councillors and officers in trying to progress an answer to this widely reported problem. At each meeting, very specific ‘next steps’ are identified. However, experience across the country has demonstrated that it can take 18 months for such schemes to come to pass. There is no quick fix, but a scheme is being worked up.”

And he added: “I have heard criticism from shopkeepers of the lack of available parking on High Street, but would have to question why they themselves park there throughout the day, using the spaces of potential customers. I have also heard criticism that High Street has too much car parking, and that it should only be possible to park on one side of the street.

Commenting on the numbers of tickets issued within the town since November, Inspector Noble said: “Over the past three months, there have been 42 fixed penalty tickets issued in the Hawick area, including four to shop/business owners on the High Street.”