SCOTTISH Borders Council’s executive committee has supported the temporary suspension of pay and display parking over the festive period. 

Last week, this newspaper reported that councillors on the committee were being asked to consider a number of options regarding parking in the area at a meeting on Tuesday (November 17).

One of those options was a temporary suspension of pay and display parking across the five areas of the Borders that it is used - Peebles, Galashiels, Hawick, Melrose and St Abbs - between December 1 and January 4, which the committee supported. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Number of Borders hospital patients increases

Executive member for economic regeneration and finance, Mark Rowley says he is “delighted that the executive committee enthusiastically supported suspension of local parking charges over the festive period" to help support local businesses "at such a critical time”.

“We really hope it will boost local businesses and will encourage our residents to do as much of their shopping and spending locally,” said Mr Rowley, who is councillor for Mid Berwickshire. 

“Our traders need all the support we can give and the committee hopes this will send a clear message that shopping locally is a great way to support them and for residents to shop safely.

“We hope users will park responsibly and not overstay as for this to boost local businesses they need to see each space used by a succession of customers during the day.”

READ MORE: Two motorbikes and quad bike stolen from Borders dealership

It is hoped that the suspension will see people return to their local town centres, rather than doing their Christmas shopping elsewhere. 

Councillors opted for the shorter suspension of pay and display meters, with another option tabled to make parking free between December 1 and March 31.

The other options were to keep current parking measures or to authorise a review of the scope of pay parking, current regimes and charging times.

Mr Rowley says the committee agreed to ask for review of parking alongside their decision to temporarily suspend the pay and display system, to ensure “that those assets are doing the most they can to support our local towns and traders as well as possible”. 

From December 1, the following car parks will be free until January 4: 

Galashiels - High Street; Ladhope Vale; Hall Street; Stirling Street; and Stirling Place 

Hawick - O’Connell Street; Walter’s Wynd; Health Centre; Cross Wynd; and Allars Crescent

Melrose - Buccleuch Street 

Peebles - Edinburgh Road; Greenside; and Swimming Pool 

St Abbs - Harbour