RECENTLY-elected Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar this week called for the services delivered by Scottish Borders Council to come closer to the people of the town.
And, in the months ahead, he will be pressing for an all-purpose depot to be set up in Selkirk, similar to the Thornfield facility which closed when the town council gave way to regionalisation in 1975.
“We had roads, cleansing and parks staff all in the one place, under the command of the late Tammy Russell, who sent out squads who lived in the town and knew the town and its people.
“Today, these services seem much more remote with staff coming in from other parts of the Borders and I do not consider that an improvement.
“The council is looking to bring decision-making closer to the people and will be consulting later this year on how to do that. To my mind, a depot would bring services closer to the people who receive them.”
But Mr Edgar does not believe that town councils should be brought back to replace the centralised single tier local authority based at Newtown – a suggestion made this week by Scottish Borders Council convener Graham Garvie during a speech in Lauder.
Mr Garvie said he wanted to revive the Borders Burghs Convention which, along with town and county councils, bit the dust in 1975. And he believes that body could petition the Scottish Parliament to authorise a commission to look at all aspects of governance in Scotland, claiming the current system of local government is “too remote”.
Mr Edgar said the cost alone of dismantling the current system could not be justified.
“However, I agree the present structure could work better and I think local depots in towns like Selkirk would help redress the balance,” he added.