The following extract from Euan Robson's weekly Mound of Information column indicates how affordable housing continues to be one of the topics of the moment. Warm has now been added to affordable as a key element.
"THE supply of affordable, warm housing
is an issue of critical importance in Roxburgh and Berwickshire. My colleagues, Michael Moore, Archy Kirkwood, Jeremy Purvis and I have regular discussions with housing providers. There are a number of inter-related issues at present that are affecting the much needed supply of new homes. The first group might be described as development constraints. The most obvious of these is of course the land available on which to build. It has first to be identified as acceptable in planning terms and then secured. Scottish Borders Council’s draft Local Plan is of course key to local housing development and is entering the final stage of its consideration. In terms of land, just recently, at our prompting, the Scottish Executive made about £1.5 million available to Eildon Housing Association for land purchase for land banking purposes. The majority of the resource will be used in the central Borders but it will over time reduce the pressure on social housing there and indirectly in Berwickshire. Berwickshire Housing Association has developments in hand at Gunsgreen in Eyemouth and others may follow elsewhere in the town in due course. Another development constraint is the ability of local services to accept or to sustain new housing. For example, Scottish Water’s waste water treatment works are under pressure or at capacity in many parts of Berwickshire and the Borders. The work on the scheme on the coastline from Eyemouth to Cockburnspath has solved that problem in the communities served. Work is due in Duns in 2005. In Duns there is a queue of important projects awaiting the expansion of Scottish Water’s facilities including the new buildings to replace the Sue Ryder facility at Marchmont. However, there is a long way to go in a number of our villages and little prospect of undoing 30 years of water infrastructure under investment in short order. The other type of issue is of course financial resources. Happily more money is available via Communities Scotland for social housing. Local housing associations are constantly trying to maximise their share and have my backing in so doing. Scottish Water is currently consulting upon its proposed investment plan post the current period ending in 2006. Up until then, a total of £1.8 billion will have been put into water quality and waste water treatment. Communications investment can stimulate housing development and the near £60 million spent on the A1 will in time open eastern Berwickshire to more development as of course would an east coast mainline rail commuter service with a station at Reston. '
Paxton is not mentioned.