COUNCILLORS will next week be invited to support the declaration of a housing emergency in the Borders.

At a meeting of the full council on Thursday (May 30) members will debate the matter amid growing housing and homelessness pressures, with temporary housing at an all-time high and plans to build 184 affordable homes in the region over the next year unlikely to be achieved.

Meanwhile, the number of applications for social housing properties has doubled in five years – with Scottish Borders Housing Association receiving 104 bids for just five new homes at its latest development in Kelso.

Against that backdrop, some members of the council’s decision-making Executive Committee expressed support for declaring an emergency when they met last week.

Members were informed that it could only happen with the agreement of full council.

A joint report to full council from Jenni Craig, director of resilient communities, and Nuala McKinley, director of corporate governance, says: “There is a housing crisis across the UK including Scotland. It is considered important to acknowledge the pressures at a local level in the Scottish Borders, justified by the statistics and information that have informed this understanding.

“Declaring a local housing emergency would make a clear statement to our communities, stakeholders and both the Scottish and UK Governments that Scottish Borders Council is formally recognising the exceptional and unprecedented challenges and the impacts being felt across our communities.

“A declaration would acknowledge the current situation is unsustainable and highlight that urgent intervention and action at a national level is required.

“It should be recognised, however, that the declaration of a local housing emergency could create and enhance expectations on the council to respond appropriately through all areas of strategic planning.

“Realistically, at this current juncture, the council is already doing everything it reasonably and practically can within our current powers and funding landscape; and the impact and influence of any additional activity will also be limited.”