CAMPER van tourism is very popular in Peeblesshire, but unlike other local authorities, Scottish Borders Council does not charge for overnight stays, a meeting heard.

Peebles Community Council (PCC) member Malcolm Bruce is a camper van owner and compared the situation with Fife.

Mr Bruce said: “Fife Council is very forward-thinking and we buy a £10, 24-hour ticket on arrival at the meter.

“In Elie car park there is a prefab toilet bock and one is left open overnight plus chemical waste disposal.”

Allan Mackenzie added: “In Europe there are fantastic facilities, it is a no-brainer.”

In his chairman’s report Peter Maudsley said: “This is an interesting question and one that we would do well to have a policy about across the Borders, not just in Peebles.

“Kingsmeadows Car Park has recently had two motorhome spaces painted out in the middle section, but this is a free car park so no ability to collect fees is available.

“Hay Lodge is the same and I don’t think an option exists within the published parking charges at East Station Car Park, though I have seen motorhomes parked overnight in all three.

“I recently spoke to a couple who had driven from Fort William in their small camper to attend a show at the Eastgate Theatre.

“They intended to sleep overnight in the East Station Car Park and drive home the following day, having spent money on tickets for the show, pre-show drinks and a meal and possibly breakfast the next morning.”

Mr Maudsley said that any visiting motorhomes will spend money locally and spread the word about what a great place Peebles is to have a stopover.

He added: “If fees were introduced like those in Fife it would create another small income stream.

“Scottish Borders Council (SBC) could assist by adding grey water disposal facilities on the outside of all their public loos, as already exist for example on Arran.

“We have noted instances of camper vans parking where grey water and worse has been dumped, once in Kingsmeadows car park and also at the Sware.”

Tweeddale East councillor Julie Pirone said: “SBC is developing a new tourism strategy and will need to look at camper van use.”

Mr Maudsley concluded: “The town should be as tourist friendly as we can make it.

“Camper vans are widely-used, particularly among foreign tourists and a lack of facilities drives them away.”

An SBC spokesperson said: “It’s something we’re keen to look at in conjunction with other departments such as tourism and the economic development team within SBC.”