SCOTTISH Borders Council's (SBC) target for building new affordable homes in the region is “ambitious”, according to a Tweeddale representative.

The council’s strategic housing investment plan for the period 2022-27 was approved at an executive committee meeting on Tuesday (September 14).

A report outlining the plan states that 312 affordable homes could be built by the end of the current financial year.

According to the report, 107 affordable homes were delivered in 2020-21, falling short of the 128 target.

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During the meeting, Kelso councillor Simon Mountford, of the Conservatives, said: “312 projected is actually a tremendous feat.

“Last year, 107 homes, although below the target, given the circumstances was a tremendous effort.

“Construction difficulties are still present so to be able to get 312 done this year, if achieved, would be fantastic.”

Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler, an independent, said he thought the 312 target was “ambitious”.

He added: “I would go to the words, 312 homes ‘could be delivered’ because I think what we’re facing are incredibly challenging times.

“Just going for a walk down the road and I look at the Tweed Bridge development that has been sitting there for nigh on two years now.”

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The council report states that there is potential for 1,213 new affordable homes over the five-year period.

However, it adds that the figure is based on “all identified challenges and infrastructure issues” being resolved “in a timely manner”.

Should all the potential 1,213 homes be delivered, an estimated £5.5m additional income from council tax will be generated for the council over the period April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2027, according to the report.

An SBC spokesperson said that increased funding from the Scottish Government and registered social landlords will support the construction of the new homes, as well as council investment from second homes council tax.

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Following the meeting, SBC’s executive member for economic regeneration and finance, Mark Rowley, said: “Considering the challenges experienced during 2020/21, including lockdowns and supply issues, it is remarkable that our partners got so close to the annual target in that 12-month period.

“The projection for the current financial year further emphasises the incredible commitment of everyone involved in our collaborative efforts to ensure we meet the housing needs of Borderers and also those who wish to move to the area.”

The Mid Berwickshire representative, of the Conservatives, added: “The Scottish Borders is an incredibly attractive place for people to live, from our scenery to our events and our local businesses to the activities available for all ages. In the post-pandemic world, we can really capitalise on the increased ability to work from home to attract even more people to the region, alongside our continued commitment to supporting businesses to grow and to increasing the number and quality of jobs available here too.”