Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Whitsome Ark Village Hall, Main Street, Whitsome, near Duns TD11 3NA

Contact: Eileen Graham Tel: 01835 826585  Email:

No. Item




In the absence of the Chair - Councillor Fullarton - Councillor Laing chaired the meeting, welcoming everyone to the Berwickshire Area Partnership and thanking the Community Councils, Partners and local organisations for their attendance.  Councillor Laing outlined the programme for the evening and introduced the speakers.





The Minute of the Meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership held on 5 September 2019 had been circulated.  The Chairman gave a brief outline of the previous discussion, which was attached to the Minute as an Appendix.



APPROVED the Minute.



Transport Update

Update by Mr Timothy Stephenson, Passenger Transport Manager


With reference to paragraph 4 of the Minute of 5 September 2019, Scottish Borders Council Passenger Transport Manager, Mr Timothy Stephenson, gave a verbal update on Transport Planning.  Mr Stephenson explained that local bus services were not a statutory requirement, with subsidies on local bus services (LBS) costing £1.5m per annum, and moved 1m travellers.  As with other Local Authorities, budgets of the LBS were always being reviewed.  Savings made in 2018 totalled £200k and were based on data collected on-bus and passenger trends, providing alternatives and some innovative thinking.  Savings in 2019 of £85k were already secured without further cuts to bus services and £165k of budget savings were needed in 2020.  The Plan for 2020 and beyond identified a number of under-performing bus routes, declining passenger numbers; re-tendered pricing across Scotland was around 20%; the cost per passenger (subsidy) was very high and was not sustainable.  There were some tough decisions to be made to secure a workable plan to save £165k and look at alternatives rather than cutting services.  In August and September 2019 officers met with communities and had conversations on meeting their local needs.  Mr Stephenson advised that four bus routes within the Berwickshire area (the No. 32, 85/87, 710 and 902) were being reviewed due to the high cost per passenger.  The Berwick/Hutton/Paxton service was not doing well and was currently on a 1-2 year contract.  He advised that he would meet with the Hutton/Paxton community to assess what the route should look like before going back out to tender as there were very few passengers using the service at the moment.  It was proposed to try and get the cost down from £5.33 to £3.60 to bring in line with the average cost per passenger for the Borders.  The 85/87 service would be reduced to 2 days per week (Tuesday and Thursday) and a revised timetable had been sent out to all Community Councils on the route.  The service was only carrying 4.5k passengers per annum and was the most expensive route in the Borders.  The 710 service would go entirely as it only had 110 passengers last year.  The 902 timetable had been changed to include the link through Greenlaw, Leitholm and Kelso, with a consultation out at the moment and due to close in a few days.  Engagement had taken place with Hutton & Paxton CC to look at a provision to replace the 87 service and a workaround was being assessed.  In response to a question about the re-opening of Reston Station, Mr Stephenson advised that he would be happy to sit down with the Community Council and the wider community to see what transport links could be made.  With regard to the loss of the 87 service, there could be further discussions on the use of an on-demand service similar to that provided to West Linton.  Mr Stephenson confirmed that Berwickshire Wheels had secured another year of SBC funding for their Hub and was aware that they were struggling for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Jim Clark Rally 2020 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Consider report by the Executive Director & Service Director Assets & Infrastructure.  (Copy attached).

Additional documents:


4.1     Copies of a joint report by the Executive Director and Service Director Assets and Infrastructure on the Jim Clark Rally 2020 Public Consultation Process had been circulated.  Revised legislation for motor sport events on closed public roads had been introduced in 2019 and gave increased rigor to the planning process for such events which aimed to reduce the likelihood of a repeat of the tragic events of 2014.  As part of that process, the organisers of the Jim Clark Rally had applied to the Council, as local roads authority, for a Motor Sports Order, to hold a rally on closed roads in the Scottish Borders on 30 and 31 May 2020.  In determining whether to make a Motor Sports Order, the Council had to consider a number of factors laid out in the Regulations.  The report outlined those factors and provided an opportunity to examine the proposals submitted by the rally organisers in respect of the routes and timings for the rally on 30 and 31 May 2020. 


4.2      It was noted that the event organisers had, prior to submitting the application, been in consultation with representatives of Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland through the established Safety Advisory Group (SAG) system in place at the Council.  The intention of the Jim Clark Rally organisers was for the event to be based in Duns and to run a total of 8 rally stages (over 4 different routes) on the Saturday and 6 rally stages (over 3 different routes) on the Sunday.  The four routes on the Saturday were Westruther, Scott’s View, Eccles and Longformacus – Abbey St Bathans. This would see a single run, in an anti- clockwise direction of travel, over the first three routes followed by vehicle servicing and refuelling in Duns and then a repeat of that earlier sequence.  Following a further re-group and service in Duns, the day would then conclude with two runs over the Longformacus – Abbey St Bathans route.  Sunday would see routes at Edrom, Ayton and Whitsome; the intention being to run a clockwise loop of those routes followed by servicing and refuelling in Duns, before a repeat loop over the three routes and a podium finish in Duns.


4.3      The Chairman welcomed the SBC Infrastructure Manager, Mr Brian Young; the Chairman of the Jim Clark Rally, Professor Dan Wright; and the Jim Clark Rally PR Manager, Mrs Frances Renton to the meeting.  Mr Young emphasised that the Jim Clark Rally was a major sporting event and brought significant economic benefit to the Scottish Borders.  It attracted a high number of spectators, supporters, staff and competitors to the area, many of whom stayed a number of nights.  By extending the route it would spread the benefits throughout the Borders.  It had been acknowledged the significant officer time spent getting the rally back to the Borders following the tragic events in 2014.  In response to a request that the Community Councils affected be contacted individually, Mr Young confirmed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Community Empowerment Act pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Participation Requests & Community Asset Transfer Annual Reports 2018/19.  (Copies attached).

Additional documents:


Copies of the Scottish Borders Council Participation and Asset Transfer Requests Annual Reports 2018/19 had been circulated.  The reports summarised each request, a description of the request, and also gave details of its status.  The Strategic Community Engagement Officer, Ms Clare Malster, gave an explanation on how requests could be made by an organisation of a public body stating they wished to be involved in reducing equalities.  A total number of 5 participation requests had been received.  Of the 5, 3 had been agreed from Eyemouth Community Council and the 2 requests refused were from Selkirk Regeneration Company and Scottish Borders Community Councils’ Network.  The Scottish Community Development Centre had put together some information on community empowerment which was very useful.  The Community Asset Transfer Policy had come into force in 2017 and gave certain types of bodies the ability to approach public bodies for lands or buildings to lease/use/buy.  The application would need to show benefits to communities.  Seven asset transfer requests had been received and 3 groups had moved to the formal transfer request stage:  Men’s Shed in Selkirk; the community orchard in Kelso; and one pending for an old primary school in the Borders.  All the information was available on the SBC website.  Ms Malster advised that she would be happy to discuss the Community Empowerment Act further with anyone and it anyone had any ideas for community empowerment for the next meeting, then again she was happy to chat about these.



Berwickshire Locality Plan & Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB

(Copies attached).

Additional documents:


Copies of the Berwickshire Locality Plan and Action Plan had been circulated.  The Locality Development Co-ordinator, Ms Pringle, advised that the Plan showed that the Area Partnership was about creating a space where the aspirations and ideas of the community could be heard, and community planning could be strengthened through communities and public bodies working together; the Locality Plan was part of that process.  The Plan outlined the priorities of the Berwickshire area with a focus on reducing inequalities to improve the area for those who lived, worked and visited there.  The Plan linked to the Scottish Borders Community Plan and set out the priority improvements over the next five years and the commitment to work in partnership and use shared resources.  The Plan was structured around 4 themes: Economy, Skills and Learning; Health, Care and Wellbeing; Quality of Life; and Environment and Place.  Ms Pringle explained that comments and feedback gathered at previous Area Partnership meetings were incorporated into the Plan and reflected the prioritisation of outcomes and the difference sought by local individuals, groups, organisations and businesses.  It was the intention of the Area Partnerships to involve as wide a group of people as possible to ensure the Plan reflected the needs of the community.  In developing the Plan further there was an aim to increase participation and create more opportunities for people to attend the Area Partnership meetings, to talk in person to the Communities and Partnership team and also to take part in surveys or contact could be made online.  Any suggestions or views would be welcomed either by or through the SBC website: councils.  A further discussion was then held on the Locality Plan which clearly showed each of the priorities, the associated actions, delivery, timeline and progress made, and the following questions were answered.



(a)       Question – what happens to the Plan now?

Response – the Plan was a reference tool which will help drive change across the public, private and third sector.  The Action Plan was now being compiled to take the priorities and assign what activities were happening.  This would be delivered across the community planning partners and an explanation was also given on the monitoring process of the plan.  If there was no progress with the Action Plan then it would be cascaded up to the Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board.


(b)       Question – what about accountability?  Who owns the process?  There was a gap in the resource being put in for implementation of the Plan.

Response – the Action Plan gave details on who is doing what and the associated timelines which would enable a level of accountability.  The Action Plan was a first start, and would be a fluid document which would change on an ongoing basis.  The Plan would be on the SBC website and copies would be going out to partners to see what activity was being undertaken and then it would be brought to the Area Partnerships to consider progress. 


(c)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Berwickshire Locality Plan - Health & Social Care

Presentation on Extra Care Housing, Trust Housing Association & Berwickshire Locality Co-ordinators (Older Adults) - followed by table discussion.


7.1     The Chairman welcomed Jenny Wallace and Amanda Christie from Trust Housing Association, to talk about their Extra Care Housing provision in Duns.  Ms Christie advised that the Extra Care Development for Duns was a priority in Trust Housing’s operational plan for the next year.  Whilst the build was progressing well they were working to identify suitable residents and working to ensure there was a well skilled local workforce.  There was a selection of information available at the meeting, including newsletters, guidance on support, independent research and case studies along with the statistics on the Trust and performance.  Trust Housing was a national organisation established in 1973 and had 3,600 homes and around 600 staff.  It was a housing, care and support provider, predominately for older people.  Ms Christie advised that within the Borders the Trust had an extra care housing facility in Galashiels and a sheltered development in Chirnside, with the new development in Duns due to be completed in September 2020.  It was hoped that the facility in Duns was not just a resource for Duns but a hub for the whole community.  There were architects plans at the meeting for the new development in Duns which showed the physical use of the building, parking and garden space.  In essence, extra care housing brought together a landlord service, housing service and personal care in the one development.  By combining this range of services through a dedicated, locally based trained staff team, benefits were felt by the people supported and there were economies of scale to each service area.  The Trust had 10 extra care housing developments across Scotland and feedback from tenants showed they particularly liked the meal service; a lot of the social activities within the development and in the local community; and they liked their own space.  Feedback from the Commissioners showed they liked the flexibility and the ability to respond especially with those who had high care needs; and that people could come out of hospital more quickly.  The users of the service benefitted from a seamless and more flexible care and support service provided in a holistic and person-centred manner. 


7.2     Ms Wallace then spoke about the Todlaw project, with the Trust starting work with SBC 2½ years previously as part of the Strategic Housing Plan.  The development would have 30 flats with a Hub and be surrounded by 19 amenity cottages.  There would be a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom properties.  Design guides were used to meet visual and early stage dementia issues.  Staff in the Hub would provide services to those in the flats/cottages and meals would be available in the Hub.  The development would also be available to the whole community as a complement to other services in the area.  The Trust was already working with the local Social Work team as well as other providers so in terms of recruitment the Trust would not take over their work e.g. overnight service.  They could also buddy up to react to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Berwickshire Community Fund pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:


Information on the Berwickshire Community Fund had been circulated and was available on the tables at the meeting.  Ms Jan Pringle, SBC Locality Development Co-ordinator, gave an explanation of the Scottish Borders Council’s Community Fund process.  This was a fund available to the community and voluntary groups to help support community activity.  Grants of up to £5k for non-constituted groups and £10k for constituted groups were available.  In exceptional cases up to £30k was available for constituted groups.  Applications submitted to Scottish Borders Council were assessed by the Communities and Partnership team and if they met the fund criteria, would go forward to Area Partnership for a decision to be made by the attendees present.  Assessments would be included in agenda papers and those who attended the Area Partnership meetings would be asked to consider the facts and make a decision on whether to support the application.  Ms Pringle referred to the Interim Assessment forms, already circulated and summarised below, which gave details of an application for Berwickshire Area Partnership to consider:-


(a)     Community Fund Position – Information Sheets

There had been circulated copies of the Interim Community Fund Overview Map 2019-20.  The total budget allocation for the interim community opening fund was £172,692, with an outstanding amount available for January 2020 of £119,788.  Ms Pringle outlined the details of the allocations which showed the Community Council commitments totalled £13,680; Berwickshire Federation of Village Halls at £13,502 and the local festival grant commitments at £14,060.  In response to questions, Ms Pringle confirmed that the grants did not include individual village halls as this was administered by the Federation of Village Halls.  The future budget availability was unknown at this time and was subject to budget confirmation and agreement by SBC Elected Members; similarly any underspend in this year’s budget was not guaranteed to be carried forward and this would also require a decision by the SBC Elected Members. 


(b)     Approved Fast Track Application Assessment – Keeping Duns Blooming Marvellous

It was noted that this application was from Keeping Duns Blooming Marvellous with a funding request of £1,500.  The group had identified five planting areas around Duns: Langtongate, Willis Wynd, Barn End, Industrial Estate Wild Flowers and a large square by the memorials in the park.  It was proposed to improve the spaces with sustainable planting.  The funding would enable the purchase of shrubs, perennials and wild flowers.  The group worked closely with SBC Neighbourhood Services and the proposed planting would ensure an attractive and complementary scheme.  The works would be undertaken by over 40 gardening volunteers and they had been formally supported by a Heart of Duns and Duns Community Council who had previously contributed their time and funding.  This application had been fast-tracked and was for information only as the funding for £1,500 had already been approved.


(c)     Application Assessment - Chirnside United Football Club

An application had been received from Chirnside United Football with a funding request of £2,328.65 to support the installation of floodlights at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Open Forum - Questions for Elected Members


The following questions were received:-

(a)       Question – what was the position about SCDC review of Area Partnerships and the Community Fund following the meeting held in Chirnside?

Response – it was anticipated that the report would be published soon following some further internal consultation with senior officers and elected members.  The follow up work required after the Peebles High School fire had impacted on the availability of senior officers.


(b)       Question – what about settled status and the assistance from SBC?

Response – information from the SBC Communications team had been issued through social media for about 6 months.  There had been some concern raised that people were not applying but the Council was using all channels it could.


(c)       Question – why have communities not been kept informed on the recent decision made on the £40k budget for CCTV as many communities fund-raised for CCTV in the first place?

Response – the Council report was on the public SBC website and information also was on social media.  The maintenance contract was in place to maintain the current cameras but not to replace any cameras or equipment.  There is a varied position with regard to CCTV across the Borders.  It would cost up to £1m to replace all cameras.  The Council was keen to work with other groups to see if other funding could be sourced.  Limited information was available of the effectiveness of the cameras with Police Scotland unable to provide details .The matter was strongly debated at the Council meeting.


(d)       Question – what was the ongoing proposal for SBC Elected Members to put more resources into the economy in Berwickshire given the massive investment in the central Borders?

Response – the Jim Clark Museum had received funding.  The proposed new community campus at Eyemouth would cost £18m, with further investment in the new Reston Station.  Almost £1m was due to be spent on redeveloping the harbour front in Eyemouth.  The new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency would also bring in other funding.


(e)       Question – what was the Council doing about the lack of gateway at Lamberton with no stopping point on the A1 for tourists?

Response – some of that tourist development would happen around Reston and Eyemouth and there was the possibility that the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency may pick this up in future.


(f)        Question - why are the names of the Community Council representatives in attendance at these meetings not included in the Minute?

Response – arrangements would be put in place for the sederunt sheet to be circulated at the meetings for those who wished to put their details of their name and/or organisation down and this would be included in future Minutes.


(g)       Question – the give way signs at some entrances were facing the wrong way?

Response – an e-mail had already been sent to Amey with regard to this.



Future Agenda Items


The Chairman asked for any suggestions/proposals for future agenda items or any suggested venues to be submitted to Ms Pringle for the next meeting.



Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 7 May 2020 – venue to be confirmed


The next meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership was scheduled for Thursday 7 May 2020, with the venue confirmed nearer the time of the meeting.  The Chairman thanked all those who had attended the meeting for their participation and input.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


For more Contact Details