Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Temporary Suspension of Pay & Display Parking Charging

Consider report by Service Director Assets & Infrastructure (copy attached).


9.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Service Director Assets & Infrastructure proposing that Pay & Display Parking be temporarily suspended from 1 December 2020 with the intention of providing a boost to the ability of towns to attract local shoppers in the lead up to Christmas.  In the light of continuing COVID-19 restrictions, Members were invited to consider whether pay parking charges should be suspended just over the festive period until 4 January 2021 or until the end of the financial year on 31 March 2021.  The main rationale for introducing Pay & Display operations was to provide an efficient turn-over of vehicles in key town centre locations and to assist in providing vibrant town centres. For this reason Members were presented with a third option for consideration of retaining the current pay parking regime in its current operational form. The Infrastructure Manager explained that Pay & Display operations currently took place in five towns across the Scottish Borders and typically provided a surplus in each town that could be utilised on roads and environmental improvements or initiatives in that area. The operation of Pay & Display was suspended during the initial lockdown period but resumed again in early August 2020. There had however been requests from some areas to suspend the operation again in the run-up to Christmas and potentially for the remainder of this financial year. It was anticipated that such a move would encourage people to shop local and be particularly beneficial to Christmas trade. 


9.2       Members discussed the report and options presented for consideration. There was general support for a temporary suspension of charging to boost local spending and to encourage shoppers into the towns but only for the festive period rather than for the longer period to 31 March 2021. They also strongly supported the proposal to undertake a review of the scope of pay parking. In terms of a temporary suspension and in response to concern about the risk of people parking for longer periods and possibly using free car parking spaces to facilitate trips to Edinburgh Mr Young confirmed that attendants would still be utilised to monitor use of the car parks and possible all day parking.  However, it was accepted that attendants would not have a reasonable way of enforcing turnover without operation of the ticket machines. In response to a question, Mr Young said it was technically possible to amend the machines to issue tickets without payment but this was complex and likely to be cost prohibitive if it was just to serve a short period of time.  A suggestion was made for signage to be used to dissuade people from occupying a space for long periods. In further discussion Members stressed the importance of effective communication messages to encourage support of local businesses.  Mr Young agreed to look at these matters and also to consider a method of measuring whether the initiative had been successful, perhaps by way of a short Citizen Space consultation.





(a)        the suspension of Pay & Display operations over the festive period from 1 December 2020 to 4 January 2021; and


(b)       authorise the Director of Assets & Infrastructure to undertake a review of the scope of pay parking, the current charging regimes and charging times for Pay & Display parking and that a further report be brought forward within a 6 month period.


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

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