Old guard unable to think outside box

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It was abundantly obvious in his response to my letter re the outdated planning policies at Scottish Borders Council that Jock Houston is a retired history and not an English or maths teacher.

He patently did not read my letter properly because I clearly stated: “If the council refuses one application per week, that equates to 52 houses per year at say £200,000 each, a total of £10.5million per year is lost in revenues to the local building trades. Fifty-two houses spread over the Borders would not even be noticed.”

Yet he states I suggested that 1,248 houses had been refused per year.

He is also fully aware that if an application is deemed outwith policy by the local planning officer then it may not even come forward to the committee for refusal.

Further, at the end of his letter he states that if there was a relaxation in policy there would be a flood of disappointed applicants demanding their applications be reviewed “and this may be in fact illegal”. What a load of nonsense.

Anyone who was refused earlier could, if they wished, make a new application to test a policy relaxation from the date of the relaxation. They would, of course, be required to pay the fees again, which would add to the coffers of the planning department.

This clearly is another indication of the mindset of some of these old councillors, unable to think outside the box. Brainwashed puppets enabling officers to get all their own way while the Borders suffers.

It is obvious by his response that my assertion that some councillors are to blame for the lack of house building in the Borders is correct. It is clearly within their power, but beyond their ken.

Thank goodness he has retired as a councillor and his partner in crime, Trevor Jones, the vice- chair of planning, has failed to get re-elected.

It is to be hoped that the new chair and vice-chair of planning are less pragmatic than the outgoing ones, and the new councillors do decide in the near future to temporarily relax planning policy, then there may be a ray of hope for the beleaguered local building trades and workers until the recovery begins.

Norman Pender

Kinninghall

Hawick