Hand power back to the locals

The residents of Meigle Row in Clovenfords (“Angry homeowners call for planners to see the light and change policy”, Southern, February 23) have every right to feel angry with the encroachment on their privacy caused by the new Barratt Homes development.

Their concerns and objections went unheard and the sympathetic response they have received from one of their local SBC councillors and their community council does not compensate for Scottish Borders Council’s decision to approve this development when it was at the planning stage. It is the residents, not SBC, who have to live with the consequences.

A few years ago the Borders had five area committees which had the authority to deal with planning applications. They were stripped of much of this authority and then most were abolished altogether. This decision, authorised by our SBC councillors, has taken virtually all power away from local communities to influence the course of housing developments in the region.

Community councils have the opportunity to comment on planning applications, but there is no obligation on the part of SBC to go along with their views when it comes to major developments like the one at Clovenfords.

The result of this is the unsatisfactory situation at Meigle Row.

To stop this happening again elsewhere, SBC must restore the area committees, allow them real power to influence planning and development, and accept that they genuinely represent local community opinion and cannot be ignored every time SBC thinks it knows better about what is best for the region and its people.

Robin Tatler

(Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party, Tweeddale East)

Springwood Terrace