RESIDENTS on an upmarket estate had to endure years of unfinished access roads after Scottish Borders Council forgot to obtain security bonds from the developers.

And following an upheld complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, the local authority has tightened up its procedures.

When planning permission was granted for Wallaceneuk, near Kelso, all roads on the estate were to be completed within three years of building work beginning.

And the local authority should have obtained a security bond to cover the costs of completing the surfaces as a back-up.

Frustrated residents on the estate, where properties can fetch around £250,000, complained after the roads remained unfinished long after the three-year cut off.

The surface work was finally done earlier this year after one angry resident raised the issue with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

A spokesman for the SPSO stated: "He told us that the roads were still not fully complete, despite the three year roads consent period having expired a number of years ago.

"In response to our enquiries, the council confirmed that the works in question were now complete, but accepted a number of failings in this case.

"They explained that they had not ensured that security bonds or deposits were received for all the roads in the estate before issuing consent.

"While they took steps to pursue the developer for the missing bonds, by the time they sought to take formal action in this respect, some houses were completed and occupied.

"This meant that they were unable to close or divert the roads, which would be their normal recourse in this situation."

The surfacing of the access roads was only completed in the summer.

Scottish Borders Council admitted mistakes were made at Wallaceneuk - and they had now tightened up procedures.

A spokesman told us: "We accepted that we didn’t have the road construction consent extension of time or the relevant security in place prior to the house building commencing, however we were in continual discussions with the developer regarding the completion of the works as they were also aware of the requirement for an extension to time and the provision of security.

"As a result of delays due to legal issues involved with the provision of the security, the works on-site were completed before these issues were resolved.

"We also accepted that there were other procedural matters which could have been better dealt with by the council.

"We have now improved our internal procedures and these actions were accepted and acknowledged by the ombudsman in his consideration of the complaint.

"Through our continual dialogue with the developer, and their ongoing programme of works on the site, we were able to have the outstanding road works completed prior to the complaint being determined by the ombudsman, a fact recognised both by the ombudsman and the complainant."

The ombudsman determined that no further action was required.