Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Eileen Graham 01835 826585  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting and introductions were made. 





In terms of Section 5 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, Councillor Fullarton declared himself as the local Member, but did not declare an interest and participated in the meeting.



Minute. pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Minute of Meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 September 2018 to be approved and signed by the Chairman. (Copy attached.)


There had been circulated copies of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee Minute of 24 September 2018.



APPROVED for signature by the Chairman.



Cove Car Park Petition pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:


4.1       There had been circulated copies of an extract from the Audit and Scrutiny Committee Petitions procedure. The Chairman explained the procedure to be followed and highlighted the main points.  The Chairman then welcomed Mr Kevin Payne, Lead Petitioner, who is in attendance to present a petition on Cove Car Park and who is accompanied by Mr Neil Simpson, Cockburnspath & Cove Community Council.  Mr Payne commenced his presentation by explaining further the information in the supporting statement and referred to the photographs attached to the papers. The Petitions submission form had been submitted with a total of 41 signatures, from 33 properties of which 25 were permanently occupied.  This is due to the increasing number of visitors to Cove and residents had raised concerns over road safety, parking and the road conditions. 

The petition requested that consideration be given to:-

(i)     Speed Control

(ii)    No through road signage

(iii)   Residents’ parking areas

(iv)   Limitation on size of vehicles entering the Cove (other than service/emergency vehicles


4.2       Mr Payne advised that there were no speed restrictions, other than ‘Slow’ painted on the road.  Street lighting is only present on part of the road and it is single track with no pavements or grass verges.  The road is the only access to Cove Harbour and is used by villagers, visitors, children and families.  Traffic volumes were also a factor and a ‘No Through Road’ sign would help reduce the number of vehicles entering Cove.   The road is not suitable for large vehicles and there is an increasing number of tour buses and very large motorhomes coming into the village.  The road ran along a cliff top and had been protected in the past from erosion.  Vehicle numbers had vastly increased and this is limiting parking in the village, especially during Summer weekends.  Residents were having difficulty parking near to their homes which is impacting on young families and the elderly.  Emergency vehicles and refuse vehicles were also having difficulty accessing properties. The existing signage in the car park for ‘No Overnight Camping’ is unpoliced and not enforced; and residents who had erected their own parking signs on private properties had noticed an observable difference. There had been multiple pleas to the Council for designated residents’ parking.  In conclusion, the residents were asking the Council to act on a simple, low cost request to make Cove a safer place for residents and visitors and to:-

(i)          Designate ten parking spaces for residents use only;

(ii)         Introduce a 15mph speed limit into the village;

(iii)        Limit vehicle size into the village; and

(iv)       Erect a “No through road” sign.


4.3       Members then asked Mr Payne a number of questions.  Mr Payne advised that the speed limit on the road is 60mph from the A1, which reduced to 30mph where there were streetlights.  In Summer, tourists walked from Cockburnspath to Cove on the road, which had no grass verges, no room for pavements, and no passing places, which meant pedestrians had to move into  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Broadband Review

Review of Broadband Improvements in the Scottish Borders – Presentation and discussion on Broadband technologies and their deployment in the Scottish Borders.



5.1       With reference to paragraph 3 of the Minute of 3 September 2018, the Chairman welcomed Mr Bryan McGrath, the Council’s Chief Officer Economic Development, who gave Members an initial presentation as part of Scrutiny’s review of the progress made in delivering improved broadband services in the Scottish Borders by the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme.  The Chairman referred to the review and that Scottish Borders Council had contributed significantly to the rollout of the Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme, contributing £8.4m over two years to help extend the rollout as far as possible in the Scottish Borders.  It is noted that two special Scrutiny meetings had been arranged for Monday 5 November and Wednesday 21 November and papers would be compiled with previous reports for the first meeting.  Members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) would be attending on 5 November to give a presentation.  A glossary of acronyms would be made available to assist Members with the complex terminology.


5.2       Mr McGrath’s presentation explained that the focus of the DSSB programme is on improving the digital infrastructure across Scotland.  DSSB were working on the roll-out of fibre on a much wider basis, but still relying on the existing copper cable network to get back to people’s houses and businesses.  Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) is key to the programme with a top speed on copper cables of 80Mbps with Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) currently running up to 300Mbps.  However, using the old copper cables means that the quality of the signal falls away the further a household or business is from the cabinet.  If a premises is more than a mile from a cabinet it would likely not receive the full superfast broadband speed.  There is complexity around fibre to the cabinet in particular within rural areas.  A lot of houses and businesses were spread over considerable distances and were connected to ‘exchange only’ lines, a line that goes back directly to the telephone exchange.  This created a challenge on how to provide a superfast service.  Solutions for these ‘exchange only’ lines were developed later in the programme.  The practicalities in putting in the cabinets and boxes had been a massive engineering project.  There is a huge requirement on the role of local authorities, the co-ordination process between contractors, roads authorities and all other local authorities.  Road works were ongoing with the challenge around land ownership where boxes need to be fitted. Stickers were put on cabinets in conservation areas with challenges around the siting of the cabinets. 


5.3       A relatively small number of connections were being provided by Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).  These full-fibre connections have only started to appear in the latter part of the roll-out, and provide the fastest speeds available.  Work had been carried out on overhead/underground cables and following existing phone lines in place with distances between telegraph poles being reviewed.  Internal customer wiring required to be reviewed and the installation work is also different.  FTTC connections  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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