Paterson’s pledge on SBC consultation

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Scottish Borders Council has begun reviewing its Neighbourhood Operations in a bid to save £450,000 over the next two years.

This could see further unpopular cuts or a transfer of responsibility for ground maintenance in parks and cemeteries, street cleansing, public toilets and bereavement services.

Community councils and local interest groups in the Tweeddale area will be consulted in the coming weeks, and other areas including Teviot and Liddesdale will be consulted in the coming months.

The Neighbourhood Operations review, which will be implemented in April next year, is, according to an SBC press release, required to make savings of £450,000 over the next two years, while also enabling SBC to continue to meet the prioritised needs of the communities that it serves.

Councillor Davie Paterson, SBC’s environmental services portfolio holder, admitted that the council’s green waste cuts could have been handled better, and added that a lack of consultation had been an issue.

Mr Paterson said not consulting with the public is not an option this time and speaking to the Hawick News earlier this week,he said: “We have to consult with members of the public and we are hoping that they will be able to tell us where they think savings can be made. We have to make savings of £450,000 over the next two years and this may be unpopular but we have no choice.”

And he added: “A key priority of the review is to engage with the community so that the changes required can be achieved together.

“Any decisions affecting the public will be made following consultation with the community so it is important people engage with us and our partners in their area, including community councils, special interest groups and other interested organisations.

“After that, the final approval will be made by SBC councillors at the appropriate area forum.

And Councillor Paterson he finished by saying: “We want to ensure the Borders remains attractive to its residents and visitors, while making sure the council’s services are fit for purpose in the long term.”