A PLEA by traders in Galashiels for the time limit on free parking in Bank Street to be extended has received the support of local councillors.

At present, motorists can park in Bank Street for up to half an hour free of charge, but last week the Border Telegraph highlighted how a number of businesses raised fears for their future unless the scheme was extended to an hour.

Such was the strength of feeling, Alistair Dorward, who runs a lighting and giftware shop in the town, launched a petition demanding that free parking be extended to an hour, in line with neighbouring Melrose - and every business in Bank Street, with the exception of one, signed it.

Scottish Borders Council deputy leader, Councillor John Mitchell, presented the petition to Scottish Borders Council development director Rob Dickson on Thursday.

The Galashiels and District Councillor said: "We will look seriously at increasing parking at Bank Street from half an hour to one hour. I know it will be increasing in due course, probably to 45 minutes at the very least, so in a way we are almost pushing at an open door.

"I will speak to my fellow Galashiels and district councillors to see how they feel, but I'm pretty sure most of them would be quite happy to do whatever we can to help the shopkeepers in this day and age."

And he added: "Assuming it's agreed, we will try to implement it as quickly as we possibly can."

Two years ago, fellow Galashiels representative Councillor Sandy Aitchison attempted to have parking restrictions relaxed in the town over Christmas, but was hindered by red tape. He now backs the calls for extending free parking in Bank Street.

"I think you should be able to park anywhere in Galashiels for an hour. It will maybe slow down the change-over, but half an hour is too restrictive."