Communities fight to keep popular SB warden service

Laurie Wood, SB Warden, Berwickshire; Mary Jarvie, owner of Tess and Kyle; Keith Hall, Chairman, Berwickshire Community Safety Panel; Ian Jarvie, Secretary, Berwickshire Community Safety Panel; Mike Marsh, SB Warden, Cheviot; with dogs Tess and Kyle
Laurie Wood, SB Warden, Berwickshire; Mary Jarvie, owner of Tess and Kyle; Keith Hall, Chairman, Berwickshire Community Safety Panel; Ian Jarvie, Secretary, Berwickshire Community Safety Panel; Mike Marsh, SB Warden, Cheviot; with dogs Tess and Kyle

The merger of the SBC wardens’ role into the council’s neighbourhood services team is a sore point with Berwickshire community councils.

Scottish Borders councillors have agreed to phase out the warden role by 2015 despite considerable opposition from Berwickshire communities who felt that the introduction of the wardens had been successful in dealing with complaints of anti-social behaviour, as well as issues of dog fouling and fly-tipping; a number of community councils appreciating having one point of contact for these issues and receiving regular updates on what the warden had been dealing with.

At last week’s Berwickshire Area Forum, in Eyemouth, Scottish Borders councillors and officials were told once again that the decision to do away with the individual warden role was not popular in the district.

Chairman of Reston and Auchencrow Community Council, Logan Inglis, said he had been at a meeting of the Berwickshire Community Safety Partnership and reported that neither the police or Berwickshire Housing Association were happy about it because of the possible repercussions and additional work they foresee resulting from the loss of SB wardens.

“A lot of community councils want to keep the posts. We don’t want to lose something that’s good and it works,” said Mr Inglis.

“We want to say to the council that we want this position for Berwickshire - it works here and we want to keep it.”

When the role of warden goes, the neighbourhood services team will get an additional £20,000 to ”underpin warden style services”.

Neighbourhood services Berwickshire manager, Darren Silcock said: “We have to see how we can take some of the services wardens were providing.

“Is that person going to be there? Not necessarily but the issues will be picked up by the neighbour services and anti-social services staff.

Berwickshire Area Forum chairman, Councillor Michael Cook advised that if there was such strength of feeling amongst community councils in Berwickshire then they were really going to have to push for retention of a warden in the district - writing to the council and their local councillors and making their feelings known.

SB wardens were introduced in 2009 by Scottish Borders Council to be the eyes and ears of the community, dealing with incidences of dog fouling, fly tipping and anti-social behaviour.

Berwickshire warden Laurie Wood came up with the Woofs scheme - providing bags for dog owners to pick up after their animals - and it proved so successful it has since been copied on both sides of the border.