Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Rosetta Road, Peebles

Contact: Kathleen Mason 01835 826772  email:-

No. Item


Order of Business.


The Chairman varied the order of business as shown on the agenda and the Minute reflects the order in which the items were considered at the meeting.



Chairman's Remarks


(a)     Sunnybrae Lodge, Walkerburn

          The Chairman advised he was pleased to see that work had commenced to renovate and re-establish an A listed building known as Sunnybrae Lodge, Walkerburn.





(b)     SESPlan

          The Chairman advised that information relating to the SESplan main issues report consultation from 21 July – 30 September 2015 and on community event dates would be distributed by the Democratic Services Officer at the conclusion of the meeting.






Minute. pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minute of Meeting of 27 May 2015 for noting.  (Circulated.)


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the Meeting held on 27 May 2015. 


DECISION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NOTED.


With reference to paragraph 17 of the Minute, Councillor Bhatia referred to Councillor Archibald’s column in an edition of the Peeblesshire News which indicated that the SNP in administration at Scottish Borders Council had made available £3,000 to create an additional school bus service between Peebles and West Linton.   She advised that the additional school bus service had been supported by all Members of the Tweeddale Area Forum.





With reference to paragraph 4 of the Minute, Ms Lynn Lauder, Interim Area Manager Tweeddale, Border Sport and Leisure Trust was present at the meeting to give an update on the Gytes Leisure Centre, Peebles.   Ms Lauder advised that the manager of the Leisure Centre had left the employment of BSLT and she was now responsible for the management of the facilities in Peebles in addition to those at Hawick, Jedburgh and Selkirk.   She advised that measures had been put in place to address problems relating to the condition and cleanliness of the facility which had resulted in positive feedback from the public.   In relation to the price increases, she confirmed that meetings were taking place with clubs, in particular Peebles Rugby Football Club and a payment strategy had been put in place.   Discussions were also taking place with the Football Club.     In response to a question she advised of the reasons why facilities were closed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.



NOTED and thanked Ms Lauder for her update.


With reference to paragraph 11 of the Minute, Community Councillor Tulloch advised he had not received a response to his questions relating to the Food Waste Collection Service and the Democratic Services Officer advised that she would liaise with Officers in Neighbourhood Services. 



AGREED that the Democratic Services Officer would liaise with Officers in Neighbourhood Services regarding the questions Community Councillor Tulloch had submitted



Presentation - Local Access and Transport Strategy

Graeme Johnstone, Lead Officer for Transport and Access.


G. Johnstone, Lead Officer for Transport and Access was in attendance at the meeting to give a presentation on the Local Access and Transport Strategy (LATS). He explained the strategy document was needed because the current strategy document was out of date; access and transport were key issues in the Scottish Borders;  and for the provision of strategic direction.  The main issues comprised of the following:-  (a) the route to markets; (b) public transport; (c) walking, cycling and horse riding; (d) road maintenance; (e) forestry; (f) road safety; (g) parking; and (h) low carbon.  The Lead Officer advised on the consultation process which would end on 23 October 2015.  The next steps would be consideration of all responses, development of the main strategy document; and a presentation to the Development Plan Working Group and taking the document through the Council’s Committee process.    The strategy document would be finalised at the end of  2016.   Mr. L. Hayworth, Peebles resident  referred to BAM making financial compensation payments to Scottish Borders Council in relation to disruptions caused by the implementation of the railway and queried whether a similar scheme could be put in place whereby the Council would be compensated for the damage to rural roads caused by the transportation of timber.   The Lead Officer suggested that Mr. Hayworth feed this into the consultation.  It was understood that a potential new National Transport Strategy was currently being discussed by the Scottish Government.   Community Councillor Hughes referred to the lack of resources for maintenance indicating the Council needed to make clear decisions on what to fund against what could be afforded and that the position was unsatisfactory, he also referred to problems with bridges throughout the area and more clarification was required when budget meetings were held.    



NOTED the presentation.


Presentation - Permanent Traffic Lights at Neidpath Corner.

Paul Aitken, Project Engineer.


Paul Aitken, Project Engineer was in attendance at the meeting to give a presentation on the permanent traffic lights at Neidpath Corner.     He advised that owing to the existing topography there was no cost effective option to improve the road alignment of Neidpath Corner.   Therefore, practical options available were either to do nothing or to install permanent traffic lights.  The design team had reviewed potential traffic light locations taking into consideration stopping sight distance, forward visibility, road width etc.   Two possible locations for the westbound flow were considered and the option with the traffic lights close to where the temporary lights were located was considered to offer the safest layout.  A specialist consultant had been appointed to design the traffic control system and to review the most suitable locations.  The consultant also concluded that the most suitable location for the lights in terms of operation and safety was the option with the lights close to the temporary lights location.   An independent safety audit of the proposed layout would also be undertaken. A budget of £200,000 had been set aside by the Council for this project.   The advantages of the traffic lights would be:-  (a) controlled traffic flows through a difficult section of road; (b) reduced traffic conflicts; (c) reduced likelihood of accidents; (d) alleviate damage to the existing wall; and (e) reduce likelihood of unscheduled road closure on strategic route owing to traffic accidents.   The disadvantage would be possible minor delays to journey times.   Discussion on this item of business was deferred until after the presentation of the following item of business.



There had been circulated copies of a report by the Service Director Commercial Services advising on the position relating to the A72 in regard to sections highlighted for treatment, the position regarding traffic flow statistics and accident statistics, and the promotion of road improvements.   The Infrastructure Manager explained the Statutory Performance Indicator for the condition of the Scottish Local Authority road network was defined as “the percentage of the road network which should be considered for maintenance treatment”. The overall results from the SRMCS were presented using a colour convention as follows:- green – minor defects might be present, but the road was considered to be in an acceptable condition; amber – further investigation was required; and red – the road had deteriorated to a point where repairs were very likely to be required to preserve serviceability and to prolong its future.  In referring to the A72 by using a map the Infrastructure Manager  showed those sections of road identified as being in condition red, amber and green and it was noted that significant sections of red/amber existed between Blyth Bridge and Wester Happrew; Four Mile Bridge; Edston Quarry; Peebles High Street; Walkerburn; and Clovenfords.


The Network Manager then went on to explain that at times,  the narrow width and torturous nature of the A72 meant that essential maintenance could often only be done safely through a road closure.  The route had also been prone  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Open Questions.

Opportunity for members of the public to raise any issues not included on the agenda.


The Reverend Nancy Norman, Peebles resident  referred to the recent resignation of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland and queried whether this might open up the opportunity of bringing back the control and accountability of local Policing back to the Scottish Borders.  She asked if the Council would consider making representation to the Scottish Government to that effect.   Members discussed this suggestion and unanimously agreed that such a recommendation be made to Council



*        AGREED to recommend to Council that representations be made to the Scottish Government asking if, following the resignation of the Chief Constable, consideration be given to reviewing Policing in this area and in Scotland in general with a view to ensuring greater accountability.   



Community Council Spotlight.

Opportunity for members of the public to raise any issues not included on the agenda.


Community Councillor Tulloch made reference to a planning application when the local planning officer had agreed with the developer to alter the development and no consultation had been made with the Community Council.   Following discussion, the Democratic Officer would liaise with Planning and Building Standards and send a copy of the protocol for what constituted Non Material Alterations to all Community Councils in Tweeddale. 


AGREED that the Democratic Services Officer would check with Planning and Building Standards the protocol in respect of requests for alterations to planning permissions and distribute this to the Tweeddale Community Councils.



Police Scotland.

Update by Response Team Inspector Mike Bennett.


The Chairman welcomed Inspector Mike Bennett to his first meeting of the Forum.    Inspector Bennett advised he had served in the Police Force for 23 years and this was the first week in his new role. A new Police Officer, Sergeant Duncan Marker was based in Peebles Police Station.   Since the meeting in May local officers had covered a number of local festivals including West Linton Whipman, Peebles Beltane Festival and St. Ronan’s Border Games.  These events passed without any major incidents and were a great opportunity for Community Officers to get involved with the public.  Officers had also assisted at the cycling events which took place including Tweed Love and the Tour o the Borders – these events brought large numbers of cyclists into the town.   Officers continued to give attention to parking and since the end of May had issued 78 tickets and given out 3 warnings in Peebles, 14 tickets had been issued in Innerleithen.  Local Officers continued to give attention to the major roads in Tweeddale and the Camera Safety van could frequently be found at various locations.  In relation to thefts and housebreaking, these types of crimes had decreased in the West Linton area over recent months but had unfortunately increased in Innerleithen and Peebles with mountain bikes being the prime target.  Since February a total of 14 bikes had been stolen amounting to £33,000.  In an effort to prevent these thefts Community Officers had undertaken an initiative giving advice regarding security and these crimes were also being looked at to see if there was a pattern.    Funding from Safer Communities had been secured for SelectaDNA Forensic Marking Kits and 200 of these kits had been received.    These would be distributed by Police Scotland to farms across the Borders It was intended to deploy the kits in priority locations and monitor their effectiveness in preventing acquisitive rural crime.  Police Scotland was also liaising with NFUS & Scottish Land and Estates to identify suitable premises.  SFRS community fire-fighters would work with Police Scotland in delivering these kits.     Councillor Cockburn asked for information relating to vandalism at Kerfield Park, Peebles which had left the park unusable for the start of the football season.    Inspector Bennett advised he would make enquiries and respond to the members of the Forum.




(a)     NOTED the presentation.

(b)     AGREED that Inspector Bennett would update Members of the Forum relating to the vandalism at Kerfield Park, Peebles.



Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

Update report by Keith Langley, detailing ongoing work and initiatives in the Tweeddale Area. 


In the absence of LSO Langley a report was tabled relating to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the Tweeddale Area.  The report explained that Fires in the Open were at a very low number, given the time of year. This was mainly down to the inclement weather which had been experienced over the last few months. A line rescue incident occurred last month in Peebles. Specialist teams responded along with Peebles station crew to rescue a man who had fallen into an excavation within his garden.    Peebles crews reassured the casualty and readied the area and equipment for the arrival of the line rescue team who rescued the casualty using a vertical stretcher process. The casualty went to Borders General Hospital for a precautionary check-up.   Innerleithen station had complete training in relation to the opening of the Borders Railway on 9 September. This involved theoretical input as well as practical input at the railway yards at Shawfair, arranged and completed by training officers from Galashiels.    Scottish Fire and Rescue Service staff in all the local stations provided home fire safety visits all year round. These provided the householder with a home visit, focussing on identifying and reducing the risks of fire in the home. Smoke detectors with a 10-year battery life were provided as part of this free service.  The Make It Or Break It programme was continuing to run in the Scottish Borders with the latest input in July at Scottish Borders College, Galashiels, prior to the summer break. This programme targeted 16 to 20 year old drivers with the aim to reduce road accidents and deaths in the age group.   SFRS and  Scottish Borders Council staff  were highly active and effective in the SFRS Week Of Action which took place in June. This was an initiative targeting resources at those identified as at risk from fire, mainly the elderly who lived alone.   Fire safety audits provided a targeted examination of a business premises and their relevant documents to ascertain how the premises were being managed regarding fire safety. The enforcement officer also engaged with members of staff to confirm their level of fire safety awareness.   Unwanted fire signals were being addressed by phased intervention actions which identified  premises which were producing ‘false alarms’, provided guidance on how to reduce a reoccurrence, and could also evoke legislation if occurrences failed to reduce in number. (Peebles Hydro hotel had been identified as an offender through the UFAS policy and SFRS were working with hotel staff to look at ways of reducing the number of false alarm generated at these premises).     SFRS Safeguarding Policy and Procedure for Protection of Children and Adults at Risk of Harm was implemented to link into adult and child protection. The policy had created closer ties with Social Services within Scottish Borders and ensured those people and families that fire crews identified as at risk were brought to the attention of Social Services. This had resulted in joint visits to homes to reduce  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.



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