FEARS that parking charges could be driving tourists out of Peebles has sparked calls for a review of the issue. Peeblesshire News reporter Hilary Scott met with Councillor Robin Tatler to discuss car parks in the town and the problems faced by motorists.

Many residents will have witnessed the puzzled faces of visitors staring at the car parking meter at East Station Car Park, unable to understand why there’s a meter but no charge. Or perhaps the lack of signage to car parks means visitors pass right through the town because they couldn’t find a space. And why in one car park do you pay a charge only on a Saturday, but in another you pay every day?

Back in 2013 the Area Partnership Forum formed a committee to look at off-street car parking in the town. In 2015 they implemented new off-street parking conditions.

Councillor Tatler branded the parking arrangement “unusual”. He explained: “We have a big carpark where there is no charge all week and then there is on a Saturday. We have another smaller carpark where there is a charge, and then there is a free carpark.

“The logic behind that was it would suit all the different people that would require car parking, so residents, visitors, traders and commuters as well.

“When they made that decision they said that they would review it and it should be reviewed regularly. We are now looking at not far short of five years later.”

But after suggesting a car parking review at the June meeting of the Area Partnership, there wasn’t a consensus amongst the six councillors.

“Myself and Councillor Eric Small feel that now would be a good time to have a look at it again. We will do research and gather evidence and report back to the future Area Partnership meeting.”

The councillors intend to go out into the community and talk to traders but they also want to hear from locals.

Councillor Tatler said: “We would like to hear from the readers of the Peeblesshire. Do people think it’s worth us looking at those car parks; does it still work for everybody?

“I have had representation from constituents that during the summer months they find it difficult to park. I have also heard from people confused by the system. Also are we providing for commuters? I think it’s great that people park and ride, do we maybe need a separate facility somewhere or a distinct park and ride section. If everyone thinks it's fine then we’ll leave it.”

But the Tweeddale councillor thinks that the general public do want change.

He told us: “There’s a worry that we might be losing trade from visitors who come into the car park, circle round and then leave. Also there is a lack of signage directing visitors to car parks, so is this something we need to address?”

Peebles Community Council is in favour of the review, as is the Community Trust.

But what do you think. Is car parking driving you around the bend? Cast your vote: