Residents have say on regional development

Scottish Borders Council headquarters.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters.

Residents and interest groups in the Borders are being invited to share their views on how to shape the future of the region as part of a public consultation being carried out by South East Scotland Strategic Planning Authority (SESplan).

The public consultation on the Main Issues Report (MIR) was launched last month and will conclude on September 30. The MIR will be used to develop plans to accommodate the area’s future growth.

Over the next two decades the population of the SESplan area (which covers Scottish Borders, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian, East Lothian and Fife council areas) is expected to grow by 18 per cent and the number of households by 25 per cent.

The events aim to gather views on how to respond to the need for more housing and infrastructure, as well as the potential impact this could have on green belt areas. Feedback through the consultation will help identify the key issues and priorities of people living in the south east of Scotland. Councillor Stuart Bell, SBC’s member for economic development, and vice convener of the SESplan committee, said: “All the local authorities involved in SESplan face serious challenges as a result of population changes and projected future growth, therefore it is important that we start to address these to ensure that we have the necessary infrastructure and housing in place, while also protecting the environment.

“We have to think creatively to find solutions that will help ensure the continued success and growth of the area.”

Events have been set up to encourage public participation and discussions on a range of issues. They take place on Tuesday September 8 at the Council Chamber in Newtown St Boswells, and

Thursday September 10 at the Council Chamber, Peebles. Both run from 6.30-8.30pm.