Everyone is looking forward to the end of lockdown and the ability to travel more.

The implication of this for our coastal towns is that we can expect, at times, a very large influx of visitors.

If our communities and the council do not plan and prepare for this, as sure as night follows day, ending lockdown will be followed by traffic chaos, parking anger and quite possibly a few irate letters to the Courier.

Last summer, after the proposal to turn Elcho Green into a car park had been scrapped, a handful of North Berwick residents undertook a week-long survey of the town’s car parks, counting spare spaces in the morning, the middle of the day and late afternoon.

The week chosen included a Friday on which the beaches were the busiest any of us had ever seen them.

There were very rarely any spare spaces in the long-stay, free-to-use car parks in the town centre (Imperial, Lodge, School Road).

Morning and afternoon there were always spaces free in the shorter-stay car parks (bottom of Law Road and the Glebe) and in the paid-for (Seabird Centre) car park.

There were always Blue Badge spaces available, but on the busier lunchtimes all other spaces were full in these car parks.

On the busy beach days, the parking at Recreation Park and at the station car park was also full by the middle of the day, although at all other times there were spaces at these.

Even on the very busiest days, the car parks at the sports centre and the high school were virtually empty, and the car parks of Tesco and Aldi also had spare capacity.

No one can expect to be able to park where they want, when they want, for as long as they want, all at no cost.

Building more car parks is not viable.

The only sites proposed are ones where any other form of development would not be tolerated.

Any gain for drivers would be small compared to the loss of amenity, and any parking created would not be adequate.

The solution is to use the parking resources that we have more efficiently.

If you have an errand which requires a car, avoid lunchtime.

Your best bet is to get in and out before 10am.

If you can manage your trip to town without using a car, walk or cycle instead.

On the really busy beach days, we need to do more than leave matters to first-come first-served.

Even good signage, although helpful, will not solve the problem alone.

Anyone who recalls the traffic gridlock on Marine Parade last year will know that what is required is some active traffic management: closing the road to the Haugh car park when it is full, and having helpful and friendly guides at Marine Parade and elsewhere directing visitors to the places they might find a place to park; firstly to the Rec or the station and, once those car parks are full, to the school and the sports centre.

Robbie Wightman,

Clifford Road,

North Berwick