Budget Q&A social media session

Main Budget Q&A

Budget Q&A session with Cllrs David Parker (Leader) and John Mitchell (Depute) - 22 September

On 22 September Councillors David Parker and John Mitchell were live on Facebook and Twitter between 6 – 7pm for a question and answer session relating to our budget. Below are the questions, and answers, that were discussed.

You asked

Why do we need to spend millions on a Tapestry?

Cllr Parker said

We're not spending millions on the Tapestry. We are investing in a visitor centre and associated facilities where the tapestry will be displayed. Any building will be designed flexibly for other community uses.

You asked

Has the council looked at similar (tapestry) projects? The Quaker Tapestry in Kendal for example, where visitor numbers have dropped, they have closed their tea room. Tourist centres like Kendal will have a larger footfall than Tweedbank or Gala.

Cllr Parker said

We have indeed looked at other projects such as the Quaker Tapestry. This tapestry has a limited subject matter and would be interesting to those who want to know more about the Quaker movement, which I suspect is a relatively small market. In contrast, the Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the story of the 4.2 million year history of our nation. The interest in the item has been significant and as an attraction it is significantly more marketable than a limited subject tapestry such as the Quaker one.

You asked

Local schools have seen operating budgets cut for 5/6 successive years. Will this continue?

Cllr Parker said

SBC works hard to protect school budgets & continues to invest in education, with its budget rising. Schools do look for efficiencies but try to avoid targeting their budgets for cuts.

You asked

Why is the Peebles 3G pitch project being scrapped?

Cllr Parker said

Unfortunately the Council couldn't identify an affordable or deliverable site. The preferred site of Victoria Park is affordable and could potentially be delivered but there's significant opposition from the local community. Although a possible site at Peebles High School has been identified, the only viable option at the school requires major engineering works and a large groundwater storage tank - and this could not be justified on cost grounds. It's unfortunate that a 3G pitch site cannot be identified but I would hope SBC is able to support some grass pitch investments in the area.

You asked

Forget the Tapestry & bring back green bins

Cllr Parker said

I do sympathise with you about green bins but not all Borderers got the service and to provide it to everyone Borders wide would cost £1.6m a year. The environmental benefit versus the cost is simply not justifiable.

You asked

What are the plans for refuse collections in the future? Are we to have even more bins/boxes imposed on us? Are fortnightly collections to be changed to monthly? From my point of view the current system works fine but I have no wish to try to find space in my wee garden for any more bins/boxes and there are very many people with even less space

We said

Hi, your query came in after the Q&A finished last night but we put your question to Cllr Parker this morning (23/09/16) and the following is his reply: Sandra, at the moment, the Council has not decided what changes will be made to kerbside collections. The Scottish Government is working with local authorities to try and standardise kerbside collection across the whole of Scotland so it is very likely that changes will be made in the future. At present, the Council is looking at different collection models and a decision on which one to progress with will probably be made in 2017/18

You asked

Speaking as someone who has reported numerous road defects near my home near Whitsome only for these reports to be ignored/not acted upon, which ultimately could lead to the council being liable for vehicle damage, is it not time for a complete overhaul of how such reports are dealt with?

We said

Thanks for your question, which came in after we closed the Q&A, but which we put to Cllr Parker today (23/09/16). Please find his response below: James, I am sorry to hear that you have had difficulty when reporting roads faults. It might be a good idea to speak with one of your local councillors to raise your concerns directly with them and what they could do is speak with the Berwickshire Neighbourhood Manager, Darren Silcock. The Service can also be contacted directly via their online contact form.

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