Special landscape areas generate Borders jobs

Special landscape areas (SLAs) are not “only helpful to those who do not wish to see any rural development”, as Bruce Simpson claims (letters, August 16).

The new Teviot Valleys SLA hosts more than 50 tourism accommodation providers. Many other enterprises rely on what the people staying in this accommodation spend on food, entertainment and other holiday activities. This pattern is repeated in every SLA throughout the Borders, generating lots of jobs.

And there is real demand. Our new tents-only campsite near Ruberslaw has seen high demand consistently since opening. Our promotional material emphasises the unspoilt Rulewater Valley and surroundings, and refers directly to the status and identity conferred by the new SLA designation. Increase in trade specifically from our customers has been noted in local stores, hostelries, cycle hire shops and so on.

Mr Simpson tries to suggest that SLAs are bad for employment, but, on the contrary, the jobs generated by the 50+ accommodation businesses in the Teviot Valleys SLA are, along with agricultural jobs, the bedrock of area’s economy. Failing to protect what tourists come to enjoy would undermine far more existing local jobs than would be created by inappropriate developments in this lovely area.

There are plenty of other areas not recognised as SLAs that can accept industrial development.

Alan Bailey

Spital Tower

Hawick