05/10/2016 - Scottish Borders Council has agreed where to target its "limited resources" for town centre regeneration.

An initial version of a resilience index shows that Hawick followed by Jedburgh and Eyemouth should be the first sites to receive attention.

The council said it wanted to intervene where the public sector could "unlock opportunities or solve problems."

Councillor Stuart Bell said it was vital they prioritised resources in order to make the "biggest difference".

"Through the Hawick Action Plan, working with partners including Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland, we are already working hard to tackle issues there, which the recently announced funding will assist with," he said.

"In Jedburgh we have been working closely with the community and have recently submitted an application for a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme to Historic Environment Scotland, following on from the success of the Selkirk scheme.

"This is a very competitive funding stream and we are not guaranteed to be successful, but the excellent work between officers and key community groups has certainly given us the very best possible chance of securing what would be an exciting opportunity for Jedburgh."

'Vital role'

He said he hoped a new approach in Eyemouth could also make a "long-term positive impact on the town".

However, a review of a pilot Galashiels town centre co-ordinator role decided it was not a model which could be rolled out more widely.

Gordon Henderson, of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The recognition of Scotland's town centres and the vital role they play in supporting local economies is something the FSB has been championing.

"This piece of work to look at ten key Borders towns together in a single plan is a very welcome approach and I'll be watching its progress with interest.

"Our town centres must adapt with the times to ensure they remain relevant and often this means alternatives to the old retail-only approach must be explored."

Source: BBC News

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