The Scottish Government has announced today (Wednesday 14th September) that it will not implement controversial changes to the Scottish Borders Council ward areas.
The news comes after local MSP John Lamont has repeatedly called for the proposals to be rejected by Scottish Ministers.
In May, the Local Government Boundaries Commission for Scotland published its final recommendations for new local authority boundaries. The proposals for the Scottish Borders were for the local authorities to have two fewer councillors and for the Hawick and Denholm and Hawick and Hermitage wards to be merged into a single Hawick ward. Denholm & Bonchester Bridge would have also formed part of the new Jedburgh District Ward.
Local MSP John Lamont, who strongly criticised the proposals, has welcomed the announcement from the SNP that they will not support the plans.
John Lamont MSP said: “I’m pleased the Scottish Government have listened to reason and have not implemented these controversial changes.
“It was my view that the proposals from the Commission would have been damaging for Hawick because reducing the town’s voice at a time of significant economic challenges.
“It is crucial that the Borders is properly and fairly represented and that any changes took into account the traditional connections of the region. Ten years ago, the Borders was represented by 58 Councillors. By reducing the number of councillors and making the areas they represent larger, I was concerned that their job to represent their constituents would have been made impossible.
“The Scottish Government took nearly 4 months to come to a decision on this, but I’m pleased they have eventually seen sense and caved in to pressure. I will now be seeking clarity from the Minister that no changes at all will be made in the Borders ahead of the local authority elections next year.”