Around 600 additional car parking spaces have been made free during December to encourage Borderers to shop local this Christmas.

Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Committee took the decision on Tuesday (17 November) to suspend all charging in 14 Pay and Display car parks from 1 December 2020 to 4 January 2021. This equates to 596 spaces in Hawick, Galashiels, Melrose and Peebles.

It means all car parks in the Borders which are owned and operated or managed by the Council will be free of charge over the festive period, with a full list of parking facilities available at www.scotborders.gov.uk/carparks.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, said: “We believe this will be a decision which will be welcomed by both local shoppers and traders. We can all see the impact of Coronavirus on our town centres and local businesses, and we must support them at this time. In line with the Scotland Loves Local campaign, we would ask Borderers to use these 600 additional free car parking spaces to support their town centres which, despite the challenges faced this year, still offer a wide breath of businesses offering quality local products.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, SBC’s Leader, added: “Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed many local businesses and shops providing generous support to their communities. At one of the most challenging times for our local economy, now is the time we must return this support for our local shops. By supporting our town centre traders and buying their products and services you are helping to ensure our communities survive, and then thrive.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise said: “We very much welcome the suspension of car parking charges throughout December which will encourage more people to shop close to home. The pandemic has brought great uncertainty for businesses and the people they employ. We would encourage people to shop locally – and safely – to support their high street. Every purchase we make, every item we buy, is a shop helped and a job supported. As the Enterprise Agency for the South of Scotland, we are fully committed to supporting local businesses as they recover from the pandemic, reopen their doors and welcome back customers safely.”