Fly-tipping fears as Yetholm housing plans are shelved

Worries over fly-tipping have been raised by a councillor after plans for affordable housing on a local authority-owned site in Town Yetholm were shelved for at least five years.

Councillors heard last week the £100,000 cost of acquiring road access land required for the site at Back Lane and the fact there was “little evidence” of local need for affordable units had informed the decision.

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford had sought an update on the 1.2ha site, SBC’s executive having agreed to fund a feasibility study into an 18-house development two years ago. He said completion had been promised by December last year.

“We were told that negotiations would then begin on acquiring the necessary access land which would be sold, along with the site, to the Eildon Housing Association,” said Councillor Mountford. “When will the acquisition of access land be completed?”

Responding at last week’s full council meeting, Frances Renton, executive member for social work and housing, said roads officials had developed cost proposals to improve the road and footpath network to accommodate the anticipated volume of traffic generated by new housing, saying: “These costs are currently estimated at about £100,000.

“Owing to these high costs and with little evidence of affordable housing need, the site has not been considered as an affordable housing project in the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan for 2015-2020.”

After the meeting, Mr Mountford told The Southern: “I’m not convinced there is no demand for affordable housing – particularly units for mid-market rent.

“If the council is not going to sell the site for housing, it must find some other use for it. If it does not, then I am concerned the field at Back Lane, which is already badly overgrown, will become a magnet for fly-tippers.”