PROPOSALS to introduce a leaflet setting out behaviour and parking rules for visitors coming to Innerleithen could hit tourism in the town, locals fear.

The suggestion was made following complaints about recent high-profile events in the community, which saw visitors in campervans flouting parking rules, woodland being used as a toilet and cyclists undressing in the street.

After meeting with residents, community councillor Jackie Couchman asked locals their opinions on producing a leaflet to welcome visitors to Innerleithen but set out expected behaviour.

But many felt this would be “unwelcoming” and would drive visitors out of the town.

Many residents wanted a more pro-active leaflet directing visitors to facilities, as well as erecting signage.

However, the positive approach was not echoed by all, with one local saying that a blind eye is turned to the problems cyclists bring for financial gain.

During a meeting of Innerleithen Community Council this week, Mrs Couchman said the suggestion had been made as a result of a meeting with Hall Street residents regarding parking issues during events.

“The residents' primary concern is parking directly outside their houses and when there are events on in the town, they hardly dare move their cars because they won’t be able to park anywhere near their houses. They acknowledged that it’s indicative of a broader parking problem in the town.

“We talked about a variety of things, like when events overlap there was a particular issue. There may be scope for the event organisers to put their heads together and maybe if it’s appropriate to try arrange additional parking, and there’s a field down Traquair Road that is sometimes used.”

Concerns about cyclists riding on pavements and “stripping off in the street” were also raised.

Mrs Couchman added: “PC Burniside said that if anyone sees this or any other anti-social behaviour, it should be reported. It’s only if the police have a record of these offences do they then have a feel for how significant the problems are.

“There was talk about producing a leaflet basically welcoming people to the town and giving a code of conduct. I put something on our facebook page about it, there was an outpouring of people who don’t feel it’s a good idea and it would go in the bucket.”

She added: “We need to tread with caution because there’s a danger that in intending to do good, it completely backfires.”

Members of the community council heard that a council officer had carried out an assessment of Hall Street Car Park with regard to surfacing, lighting and pruning of foliage.

Although festivals and events were welcomed with open arms, the provision of parking remained a worry.

Councillor Stuart Bell suggested the community council get in touch with organisers of events for 2019 to find out if they overlap, which would allow them to prepare for extra visitors and explore alternatives for extra parking in the town.

He said: “One of the things recognised was that the Co-op carpark has got more capacity than is used. One of the residents said that the Co-op is very supportive of events and activities in the town.”

The community council is now awaiting news from Scottish Borders Council to see if Hall Street car park improvements, including signage directing visitors to it, could be carried out under the Small Schemes budget.