TRADERS at the east end of North Berwick High Street are asking for a solution to the town’s “massive shortage” of long-term parking.

As part of East Lothian’s Council Spaces for People programme to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, bollards and planters have been placed along both sides of the road, widening the pavements and removing some parking spaces, allowing pedestrians to maintain social distancing.

Nearby car parks, such as Kirk Ports and The Glebe, have been turned into 60 or 90-minute stays with no return under the scheme.

David Turnbull, from Turnbull’s Home Hardware on High Street, said North Berwick needed more long-term parking for tourists and visitors who were likely to stay for longer than 90 minutes.

He said: “There is now an excess of short-term and a shortage of long-term parking and, whether people were for or against the putting green [Elcho Green car park], it was a way of solving long-term parking.”

Council plans to construct a temporary car park at Elcho Green were put on hold after more than 6,000 people signed a petition against it.

David said: “[Without long-stay parking, fewer] visitors and residents are going to come [to the town centre]. There is a massive shortage of long-term spaces for these kinds of people.

“I can see why they want to put these measures [on the east end of High Street] in place but we need more long-term parking.”

David said he had visited two nearby car parks that had recently been made short term on two separate occasions and they were each one third empty.

And he thought much of the opposition to the Elcho Green plan was due to misinformation about what it would consist of.

David said that the new parking measures on High Street had not negatively affected his business and that there was enough short-term parking for his customers.

Those at gift shop Time & Tide, however, say they have not been as busy since the measures were introduced.

Staff member Lorraine, who has always lived in North Berwick, said: “North Berwick is a seaside town and is not built for this kind of traffic.

“A lot of people live in flats and holiday homes nearby and they used those [long-term] car parks. These have now turned into short-term parking – where are these people to park now?”

Lorraine said that restricting parking on the east end of High Street affected customers who wished to purchase heavy items such as furniture, as they would be unable to carry them to a car parked further away.

She added: “We’ve had to do something like a ‘smash and grab’, where we watch for the person coming and quickly put the item into their car.

“Some people think the area is pedestrianised and are walking on the road, whereas before the cars parked on the side of the road made people realise and they were walking on the pavement.”

Beverly Gilhooley, owner of pet shop Barker and Bone, said business was slightly quieter than usual but the restrictions made things “a little safer”, adding that she thought the short-term parking should be a permanent feature in summer.

She said the restrictions suited the town during the summer, when tourism was high, but not during winter.

She added that the restrictions had affected deliveries to her business, which were harder to carry out, and customers who wished to purchase heavy items.

Beverly said: “It’s a brilliant idea in summer but I hope it’s a more temporary thing every summer.We can keep this up for a couple of months but not for any longer.”

The North Berwick resident said her business could afford “a little hit” but if the parking restrictions continued through the winter her business would not survive.

Judy Lockhart, chair of North Berwick Community Council, said the group wanted to know more about the council’s future plans.

She said on Monday: “The community council emailed East Lothian Council on July 21. . . and requested a meeting to discuss Elcho Green and have since followed our request up. To date, we have not been offered any times/dates by the council.”