Councillors agree priorities for development

Michelle Ballantyne
Michelle Ballantyne

MEMBERS of the council’s economic development group have agreed a wish list of priority strategic developments.

The aim is for the list to be included in a rural regional economic development programme, developed by the council and other local authority partners in the South of Scotland Alliance.

The move follows a recent meeting of the alliance with John Swinney MSP, cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, who proposed that the alliance bring forward a programme by the end of March.

Bryan McGrath, the council’s head of economic development and regeneration, told last week’s meeting that the programme needed to persuade Scottish Enterprise and the cabinet secretary to commit resources to the projects.

Members of the group agreed that a business park in the central Borders should be included, as well as the AIMUp project at Innerleithen for mountain bikers.

A economic development programme based around the arrival of the railway has also been made a priority.

Mr McGrath said there was a commitment from Scottish Enterprise to support economic growth in the south of Scotland, and that now they had been ‘brought to the table’ the opportunity was there to persuade them of the opportunities that exist in the Borders.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne said the programme had to be “very clear about the return on investment” if it was to be successful in attracting support.