THE Peebles taxi parking debate rumbled on this month, with community leaders finally reaching an agreement.

The additional rank outside the Park Hotel on Innerleithen Road has had motorists all revved up due to tailbacks.

This resulted in calls to Peebles Community Council to get it removed, and following many discussions it was agreed that the rank should be moved further along the High Street, outside the County Inn.

However, this was not received well by taxi firms who said they were not properly consulted and asked Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to re-instate the rank on Innerleithen Road.

During last Thursday’s meeting of the community council, chairman Les Turnbull said: “This has been bubbling away for over a year and I think it’s fair to say that at the beginning, there was some consultation with the taxi drivers.

"We got to a position a few weeks ago where SBC, who were working to what we asked for, removed the taxi rank outside the Park Hotel, which created a little bit of a storm with the taxi drivers who claimed that they hadn’t been consulted.

“I find that surprising because there had been some consultation.

"There’s no easy solution to any of this, because if we move some of the public parking spaces as the taxi drivers would like us to do, then that could damage some of the other businesses in the town, so, unfortunately, someone somewhere is going to be unhappy at what the community council and subsequently, Scottish Borders Council might do.”

Mr Turnbull said there had been a large number of complaints to the community council regarding the rank causing an obstruction.

The meeting heard that community councillor George Ramsay had been in discussions with roads and licensing officers at SBC to try to reach an agreement on the parking bays.

Mr Turnbull added: “I would like to try and resolve the issue as amicably as we possibly can.

"It’s been suggested that we try and achieve a compromise between the taxi drivers and other users of the parking spaces on the High Street, and that would include business users.”

He told members that the “compromise” suggested is to extend the Eastgate rank to give the taxi drivers one more bay outside the Trespass shop, and offer them two bays outside the County Inn.

“I personally think that is quite a reasonable compromise,” said Mr Turnbull. “And if we can achieve that we can then do away with those ranks outside the Park Hotel.”

Mr Ramsay said he thought that the suggestion was a good offer, but if the taxi drivers did not agree, they should utilise the two unused taxi bays in East Station car park.

Some community councillors said the suggestion to relocate the bus station on the Eastgate to East Station car park was a better long-term solution.

Graham Mackie said: “I appreciate that it’s drastic and we’ve had objections to that in the past, but I still think it would be a better solution."

Mr Turnbull replied: “I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but I take the view as you’ve just mentioned, that it’s a long-term solution rather than an immediate solution to address the immediate problem.

"I think we should probably investigate that in the fullness of time.”

The community council were almost in unanimous agreement to the short-term solution apart from one member, who said she was “not desperately happy” about it.

Julie Shearer said: “You want the town shops to get as much footfall as they can, and all these taxis are sitting waiting doing absolutely nothing and taking up the spaces.

"People needing to pop into the chemist for five minutes to pick up a prescription, or the bank, where are they going to park, all of us that need to do quick errands?”

Mr Turnbull added: “You make a good point and it’s not one that’s lost on me, but we’re trying to reach a compromise that suits most people.”