SBC seeks SESplan review

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SCOTTISH Borders Council is to seek a review of the development plan authority that it is part of, along with four other local authorities.

At a meeting of the council last week, members discussed whether or not SBC should pull out of the SESplan group, which influences major infrastructure projects in the south east of Scotland.

East Lothian, West Lothian, Midlothian and Edinburgh City councils are all members of the group, along with SBC.

Brian Frater, the council’s head of planning, told the meeting that there had been ‘operational difficulties’ with the production of the first strategic development plan from SESplan.

However, he added that ministerial approval would be needed if the council was to withdraw from the group as it had been established by the Scottish Government.

Members agreed to approach the other local authorities to seek a review of the operation and cost of the SESplan process.

Councillor Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development, said: “It is in the interest of the Borders to be part of SESplan and to be at that table.”

However, he added that a review would enable SBC to gain an idea of the thoughts of the other local authority members on the effectiveness of the group.

A Scottish Government review of SESplan is also set to take place once the group’s first plan is approved, which may not be until the middle of the year.

SBC is set to spend almost £50,000 in this financial year on SESplan.