INNERLEITHEN residents are being encouraged to have their say on future housing in the town.

Scottish Borders Housing Association will be sending out a survey to all households in the area this month.

They want opinion on what is needed in terms of affordable housing in the anonymous questionnaire which will help shape plans for development in the town.

Rural Housing Scotland have been commissioned by SBHA to carry out the survey in a bid to engage residents.

Chief Executive of Rural Housing Scotland Derek Logie, addressed members of Innerleithen Community Council at a meeting this week.

He said: “By carrying out this survey we want to find out what kind of housing locals feel is needed should they (SBHA) build in the future.

“We will be looking at if there’s any new household emerging; young people here wanting to leave home. Also people who are living in overcrowded conditions, older people who want to downsize or those who need specialised provision.”

Asked if this survey was to be carried out elsewhere in Tweeddale, Mr Logie said the housing association requested that it was specifically Innerleithen.

Mr Logie explained: “You find in the larger communities it is quite easy to demonstrate the need for housing because there are big long waiting lists. In smaller communities where maybe the turnover is less frequent because people don’t put their name down so much you have to dig below the surface to find out what is needed.”

Scottish Borders Councillor Stuart Bell asked if there was a minimum response to have a statistically valid survey.

Mr Logie replied: “We hope to get something like 25 percent back which tends to be the average. The quantity is not so important, it’s the quality in that if everybody that responded said they have housing needs they can respond to that.”

Councillor Bell stressed that the problem across the Borders is that there is no clear quantification of affordable housing need per community large or small.

He added: “I think it’s curious and helpful that you are doing this. I was at a meeting of the planning committee and we were sitting looking at a planning application which was focussed on Peebles and we don’t know the affordable housing need in Peebles. There isn’t a number you can say the demand is X.

“There is evidence of some support, which is that the Chief Executive of Eildon Housing, Nile Istephan said the last time they were advertising properties in Peebles the got 32 for each property. To a degree that is representative but we don’t know what the affordable accommodation need is in not just Peebles, but Walkerburn, Innerleithen and West Linton, which are numbers we ought to know in order for informed decisions to be taken.

“I’m really pleased you’re doing this, I’d just like to see it done in other communities also.”

Residents are being urged to complete the survey which can be completed by hand or electronically. Results will be available mid-March 2019.