As a number of issues recur from month to month in discussions among the members of the Community Council, the following are currently the issues of most concern.
Planning and Development
- Scawd Law Wind Farm
Fred Olsen Renewables has drawn up plans to develop a wind farm on Scawd Law. Some of the proposed wind turbines will be visible from some areas in Innerleithen, although the development is likely to have a larger visual impact on Walkerburn. Given the nature of community concerns between Innerleithen and Walkerburn, the developers ran a series of community consultations throughout 2021, ahead of submission of a planning application. Full details of the proposals can be found on the Fred Olsen website, including a virtual exhibition space that outlines the benefits to the community and offers illustrations of what the development will look like from various vantage points. Consultations are ongoing.
- Mountain Bike Innovation Centre
The old Caerlee Mill site has been redeveloped for housing over the last few years, with award-winning results. The next phase of the development will see public and private investments go towards the construction of a Mountain Bike Innovation Centre at the heart of Caerlee Mill. The project is being delivered by South of Scotland Enterprise in co-operation with Scottish Borders Council and Edinburgh Napier University. A planning application will be submitted to the local authority in mid-2022 and it is anticipated that funding will be approved towards the end of the year.
- Public Parking in Innerleithen
Discussions are underway on strategies for the improvement of public parking in Innerleithen. With the intention of minimising overnight parking incidents at the Cauld and Victoria Park, ideas have included repurposing some of the verge space along Leithen Road, adjacent to the existing carpark there, and seeking further space in the vicinity of the cemetery. These discussions are in their early phases at present, and it is likely that any solutions to arise from them will be short-term in nature, so that ongoing discussions can focus on longer-term solutions. An additional aim is to free up space around the High Street.
Public Health and Safety
- Dog Waste
The Community Council continues its long-running campaign to minimise dog waste on the footpaths around town. The initial phases of this campaign included the installation of dog waste bins throughout Innerleithen, and supplying these bins with plastic bags. As funding for additional plastic bags remains insecure, the Community Council would like to seek a more stable revenue stream so that the supply of bags can continue. Here on the town website, the map of essential amenities pinpoints the locations of each bin so that dogwalkers with a smartphone can easily find their nearest disposal point.
Speeding remains a concern following the implementation of the 20mph zone in Innerleithen. It is particularly problematic in the "buffer zones" at the edges of town, where the speed limit changes from 40mph to 20mph along the A72, and from 40mph to 30mph and then 20mph in the vicinity of the Golf Club. Discussions are underway for strategies to further deter speeding, including the use of additional signage on the B709.
Provision of Utilities and Services
- Power Outages
Innerleithen experiences power outages with a regularity above the national average. Together with members of the public, the Community Council is in contact with SP Energy Networks to ensure that infrastructure upgrades will create great capacity for energy usage in Innerleithen, thereby reducing the number of outages in the town.
- Bank Closure
In early 2022, the Bank of Scotland announced that it would close its branch on the High Street in Innerleithen. The loss of the bank is a serious blow to the character of the High Street and the local community. The Community Council is exploring possibilities for retaining or reinstating in-person banking in Innerleithen.
Website maintained by Innerleithen and District Community Council.