A new political party that is opposed to major housing developments in the Borders is preparing to make its first offensive in the council elections next year.
The Borders Party has been set up by campaigners against major housing plans in the region, windfarms and the extension of the Borders.
It has already recruited the support of the son of the Great War army leader Earl Haig.
George Haig, 88, a former Colditz PoW, wants his native Borders preserved in its current form and has attacked large-scale housing plans to pay for the reintroduction of the £151m Waverley train line.
He is now an ally of the newly formed Borders Party, which will field a candidate in all 11 seats at next May’s local government elections.
The second Earl Haig of Bemerysde, who lives near Melrose, said: “The council seems to be in the hands of strong leaders who are not taking much notice of the communities.
“But you have to take notice nowadays. I feel very strongly about this party and wish it every success.”
Although the war veteran, a talented artist, will not be standing as a candidate his support has been welcomed by organisers of the Borders Party.
Nicholas Watson, who was appointed chairman of the new party, said: “We are delighted to have Earl Haig backing us. He has a good eye for the Borders and knows the place and does not want to change it.”
Clockmaker Mr Watson said the new party, which attracted 230 people to its launch meeting in Galashiels, had been born through frustration with the current regime at Scottish Borders Council.
He said: “We fear that, when it comes to the strategic way forward for the Borders, present councillors just aren’t doing enough.”
Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said: “Of course we need to strike a balance and not destroy the things that make our region attractive, but we cannot survive in isolation in a global economy.”
By Brian Donnelly
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