Borders councillors have agreed plans which could see nearly 1,200 affordable homes built in the region by 2022.

However, it came with a warning that the construction sector would have to be worked with closely in order to see the "very ambitious" plans delivered.

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan could see up to £163m spent over a five-year period.

The Scottish government would contribute between £8.6m and £15m per year over that period.

The balance would be provided and the homes built by Scottish Borders Council's registered social landlord partners, including Eildon Housing.

Ron Smith, who chairs the council's planning committee, said a good pace had been set with building in the region to meet national targets.

"What you have is a challenging programme - certainly it matches with the Scottish government's demands of 50,000 houses," he said.

"We are happy to play our part in delivering that.

"It gives us challenges but there is the knock-on effect on local industry by providing jobs, there is the knock-on effect in consolidating local services - it is a case of what's not to like?"

Councillor Stuart Bell put forward an amendment asking that local firms be consulted as soon possible and it was accepted.

"I think this is an ambitious programme and I welcome the fact that we are looking to more than double the target for affordable build in the Scottish Borders," he said.

"The challenge for us is to get the right co-operation with the housing construction sector in order for it to be achieved.

"You don't double the number of houses that you're building in short order.

"My amendment was requesting that there is rapid engagement with the construction sector to ensure the best possibility of these ambitious targets being fulfilled."

Source: BBC News

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