Councillors agree Peebles bridge levy

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AS expected, councillors agreed this week to exact from developers £1,000 for each new house built in Peebles to fund a study for an alternative river crossing in the town.

It had been recommended in a report to Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee that the cash demand should only apply to developments of over 10 houses or more.

But, on the suggestion of Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East), the committee agreed that it should be levied on even single houses and flats.

“You could get developers submitting bids for nine units just to get round this policy, despite the fact the traffic generated by the new residents would exert yet more pressure on the existing single Tweed Bridge,” said Mr Logan.

The committee also agreed that contributions for the appraisal should also include other developments, including new business premises. These will be charged on a pro-rata sum, calculated on the traffic generated by the businesses.

After the meeting, Mr Logan told us: “A second crossing to the east of the town centre may be some way off and will clearly involve a large capital investment.

“However, nothing can happen without the preparatory work and today’s decision is a major step forward.

“A new bridge will make a huge difference, with all the traffic from the south side of the town going to Edinburgh and Gala missing the High Street.

“The interim developer contributions are essential because they will be used to make sure that Peebles gets the best designed bridge possible and hopefully speed up the whole process.”