MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the idea of parking charges being introduced on Dunbar High Street.

A public consultation looking at potential parking solutions throughout East Lothian came to a close last month.

Meetings and workshops were held throughout the county by East Lothian Council, including one in Dunbar Royal British Legion.

A number of suggestions were put forward, including for a disc parking system where visitors to the busy street would set a disc showing when they had parked.

Another idea being explored is parking charges – but that has met with the opposition of Dunbar Trades’ Association (DTA).

Philip Mellor, DTA chairman, said that the group “strongly oppose” the introduction of parking charges.

A petition, which was put in various businesses in the town, has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.

Mr Mellor added: “The DTA feel introducing parking charges to High Street and other key off-street parking areas will have a detrimental effect on our High Street and the local economy.

“The current system since the introduction of traffic wardens has already addressed concerns around space for shoppers on High Street and it now seems counterintuitive to then introduce a measure which will drive more customers away to out-of-town developments.

“Whilst parking during heavy summer visitor times can be difficult, it is very few special event days where parking is congested enough to even consider parking charges viable; the majority of the time parking is available and this potential charge seems to be nothing more than a money-raising exercise at the expense yet again of already-struggling independent business owners.”

A spokesman for East Lothian Council said “all responses” would be taken into consideration as it looked to develop a strategy.

He added: “The draft Local Transport Strategy (LTS) sets out ways in which the council can meet both national and local objectives sustainably, while supporting the local economy and environment.

“Our consultation on the draft LTS recently closed and we are grateful to everyone who responded or attended one of our workshops. We are grateful for and value all responses, which will be taken into consideration as we look to agree a strategy which meets future needs in and around our communities.”