DCSIMG

Cross-border opportunities discussed at key summit

Senior members of the five cross border councils met for the first Borderlands Initiative meeting at the Cardrona Hotel near Peebles. They are (left to right): Councillor David Southward (Cumbria County Councils Cabinet member responsible for Economic Development), Cllr David Parker (Scottish Borders Council Leader), Cllr Colin Glover (Carlisle City Council Leader), Cllr Grant Davey (Northumberland County Council Leader) and Cllr Brian Collins (Dumfries and Galloway Council Depute Leader).

Senior members of the five cross border councils met for the first Borderlands Initiative meeting at the Cardrona Hotel near Peebles. They are (left to right): Councillor David Southward (Cumbria County Councils Cabinet member responsible for Economic Development), Cllr David Parker (Scottish Borders Council Leader), Cllr Colin Glover (Carlisle City Council Leader), Cllr Grant Davey (Northumberland County Council Leader) and Cllr Brian Collins (Dumfries and Galloway Council Depute Leader).

Improved transport and communications links, economic growth and employment were all discussed at the first Borderlands Initiative summit.

The cross-border meeting on Friday saw senior members of five councils - Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland - discuss the key topics at the Cardrona Hotel, near Peebles.

The launch of the initiative was announced by the Scottish Government at its Cabinet meeting in Hawick in August 2013, a month after the publication of the Borderlands report by Northumbria University.

The paper recommended enhanced joint working of local authorities on either side of the border to exploit mutual economic and social links.

As well as discussing the specific issues identified by the report, the Borderlands Initiative summit also developed a plan to take forward economic opportunities.

Scottish Borders Council leader, Councillor David Parker, said: “The initiative brings together a smaller number of councils than previously and therefore I am hopeful that we will be able to deliver something significant from this new initiative.

“We have regularly worked alongside other local authorities and organisations, such as Midlothian and Edinburgh on the Borders Railway and with our partners in the South of Scotland Alliance on the roll-out of superfast broadband.

“It was excellent to sit down and work with other councils as they face similar challenges to ourselves. By working together we may be able to attract significant benefit to our regions.”

Councillors expressed concerns that rural local authorities in the south of Scotland and the north of England are currently in a void when it comes to attracting funding and investment.

It is hoped that by coming together, they will have a stronger voice and can promote our respective areas in a more positive way.

Northumberland County Council leader, Councillor Grant Davey said: “In the current climate of economic austerity it is vital we work together wherever possible for our communities.

“Pooling our resources, ideas and experiences to improve issues such as transport links and employment will benefit not only Northumberland but the wider region and Southern Scotland as well.

“We hope this event has allowed us all to take forward future economic opportunities.”

The Association of North East Councils also attended.

 

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