Spotlight on rural housing as Parliamentary inquiry comes to Melrose

26/08/2008

Rural housing will be the focus when the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee holds its first-ever meeting in Melrose, at the Corn Exchange on Tuesday, 2 September.

Committee members will be in the town on an evidence-gathering visit as part of an ongoing inquiry into rural housing in Scotland. The day will be split into two separate information-gathering sessions.

In the morning Committee members will hold a formal meeting in the form of a ‘round-table’ discussion with a panel of local stakeholders. This will be followed in the afternoon by an informal meeting with Borders community representatives to discuss the housing situation in their area.

Committee convener Roseanna Cunningham MSP said: “The high cost of housing and the lack of affordable housing for local families is a crucial issue which can affect the balance and sustainability of communities in many parts of rural Scotland, including the Borders.

"While the issue is complex, the Committee inquiry aims to produce positive, practical suggestions that will benefit places such as Melrose.”

"The Committee visit provides members with an opportunity to meet and hear from people dealing directly with rural housing issues in the Scottish Borders. Through our round table discussion we hope to gain a clear understanding of how well key stakeholders work together to deliver quality affordable housing in the Borders."

The Committee meeting with local stakeholders will begin at 10am in the Corn Exchange and conclude at about 1pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. To book tickets please call the Scottish Parliament’s Visitor Services on 0131 348 5200 or email sp.bookings@scottish.parliament.uk.

Background notes:
Stakeholders giving evidence at the round-table session will include representatives of Scottish Borders Council, community councils, housing associations and the local building trade, as well as a local landowner (Buccleuch Estates), Scottish Water and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

The Committee’s aims for the inquiry are:

  • to identify the obstacles preventing people in different parts of rural Scotland from gaining access to appropriate and affordable housing to rent or buy;
  • to assess the effectiveness of existing mechanisms for overcoming those obstacles; and
  • to identify further initiatives that could be undertaken, at local or national level, either in place of or in addition to those existing mechanisms.
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