COUNCILLORS will be asked on Monday to approve the sale of the police post at Earlston – but only after discussions with local groups who use the facility.
Lothian and Borders Police Board will meet in Haddington to consider selling off the station at Earlston, along with those at Newcastleton, West Linton and Innerleithen, in a bid to save more than £22,000 in annual running costs.
The board, comprising representatives of six local authorities including Scottish Borders Council, will consider a report from Chief Constable David Strang who estimates that cash receipts from the sell-offs will yield an estimated £174,000, with Earlston having an estimated value of £60,000.
Mr Strang will also urge members to reduce the public counter provision at Peebles to 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, compared to the current 7am-10pm. The Galashiels station is currently open from 7am-11pm seven days a week – but there is a proposal for counter provision during those hours from Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturday. It will be closed on Sunday.
The combined annual savings from these reductions will be nearly £90,000.
Councillor Gavin Logan, one of SBC’s representatives on the board, said he would press for the cash received from the station sell-offs to be used to deploy more community contact vehicles across the three areas of the Borders division – East (Duns, Eyemouth, Kelso, Lauder), South (Jedburgh, Hawick, Selkirk) and North (Galashiels, Melrose, Peebles).
Mr Strang says that to mitigate the disposal of the Borders stations, there would an increase of community beat officers across the division “to provide a visible presence” in the affected communities.
On the Earlston situation, he reports: “It is not only used as a station, but does have a specific community value. It is utilised by a variety of community groups for meetings and no charge is made for this.
“Clearly there is a potential impact on this type of activity if the station was sold ... so we will work with partners to explore opportunities around ownership of Earlston and its continued use as a community asset.”