AN AGREED site for Gypsy travellers in the Borders has moved a step closer just as the use of a temporary base comes to an end.

The thorny issue of where to house the travelling community in the region has taken many twists in recent years.

Members of the travelling community were placed in the Selkirk’s Victoria Park from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that arrangement will come to an end on June 30, members of Scottish Borders Council are to be informed when they meet on Thursday (June 23).

A potential alternative site at Ettrick Mill in Selkirk has also been ruled out amid opposition from businesses and local residents.

Meanwhile, another possible site in Galafoot Lane in Galashiels is now no longer a “credible option” after a feasibility study raised land and cost concerns.

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Instead members at this week’s meeting will be informed that progress has been made with the operators of Tweedside Caravan Park in Innerleithen on the introduction of an occupancy agreement for Gypsy travellers “that meets the Scottish Government’s minimum standards”.

Arrangements for travellers have been in place at Tweedside for decades, with nine specific pitches there. But this is currently only a seasonal site with no access during the winter months and it is therefore currently designated as “temporary provision”.

In his report to full council, Stuart Easingwood, director of social work and practice, said: “It had become apparent that the council needs to review the arrangements in place for Gypsy/traveller families in the Scottish Borders, specifically the provision of stopping places and sites.

“Experience during the COVID restrictions confirmed the existing provision is neither adequate nor flexible enough to meet our requirements.”

Members will be asked to endorse the end of Victoria Park as a temporary site, agree that Galafoot is no longer a potential site and note the progress made with the operator of Tweedside Caravan Park.

The development of a permanent site would ultimately require planning approval.