‘Lazy’ drivers cause town’s parking woes

Cars park in the bus layby on Dalkeith's High Street.
Cars park in the bus layby on Dalkeith's High Street.

Dalkeith’s town centre parking problems are caused by people who are too “bone idle” to use nearby car parks, it has been claimed.

One Dalkeith resident, who has lived in the town for 40 years, contacted the Advertiser to vent his spleen at the “inconsiderate and dangerous” parking on local streets.

The retired grandfather, who wishes to remain anonymous because of his strong views, has repeatedly contacted Midlothian Council and the local police in a bid to get them to take stronger action.

“In my opinion, the council and the police should do a blitz (on illegal parking) on a Monday and Friday. Lo and behold people might take notice,” said the 70-year-old.

He added: “When I park I make sure I’m a Lidl’s or whatever. It is not as if it is far to walk from Lidl. These people are bone idle and half the age I am.”

The pensioner, a frequent pedestrian in the town centre, highlighted parking problems in St Andrew Street, South Street and High Street where motorists park on double yellow lines, in bus laybys and on pavements.

Midlothian has one traffic warden, employed by Police Scotland but paid for by the local authority.

However, Police Scotland is removing the traffic warden service across the country and this will take effect from March next year.

At present, the council is carrying out a feasibility study into parking across the county. The findings are expected before the council towards the end of 2016 or in January 2017.

A spokesman said: “Going forward there are two options. The first is to have no enforcement. The second option, which is currently being determined, is to take on responsibility through decriminalised enforcement.

“From previous work it is evident that in Midlothian (unlike Edinburgh) there would be a cost to the authority. A feasibility study is looking at a range of issues including where we could potentially charge e.g. on street/off street, it will also consider the existing restrictions to see if they should be changed.

“These issues will allow us to firm up on what a scheme is likely to cost the authority and it will then be for members to agree or otherwise to accept that cost. This, of course, is subject to Transport Scotland allowing a decriminalised scheme to progress and following detailed public consultation.”

Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson, Area Commander for Midlothian said: “A traffic warden is still employed and continues to enforce traffic regulations throughout the Midlothian area. Police in the region will continue to enforce incidents of dangerous or obstructive parking.”

Gordon Henderson, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Dalkeith town centre, like so many of Scotland’s towns, has been hit by the rise of online shopping and the growth of retail parks like Fort Kinnaird and Straiton with their acres of free parking spaces.

“Whilst town planners are considering their blueprint for the new town centre they should include measures to make parking easy, especially at a time when neighbouring Edinburgh is trying to force cars out of the city. Get the parking, walking and public transport mix right and the town has a real opportunity.”