PART III: 1950 - 1990

One other development remains to be discussed, that of the Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association at Halyrude Court. Built on the site of the Parish Church Hall, whose demolition was not without controversy, the scheme comprises a total of nineteen flats made up as follows: eight single-person two-apartment flats; ten two-person two-apartment flats; a separate warden's flat; and communal facilities consisting of a common-room, laundry and guest bedroom. These apartments are for the elderly who are physically capable of leading independent lives, albeit with the background support of a warden.14

As we have seen, the concept of housing associations or trusts is not new to Peebles and the speculative 'housing for the retired' can be compared to the housing trusts which flourished in the town before the local authority took on the responsibility for housing in the post-First World War period. However, the wholehearted governmental support of them at the expense of the statutory housing authority is a break with tradition and the local authority's statutory rôle to provide the housing in the community which, already eroded, is now under threat from external forces. It is, indeed, difficult to see local democracy continuing to thrive when many of its functions have already been taken out of the hands of the duly elected councillors.

There were two organisations which were spawned by the demise of the town council on the introduction of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. The best known was formed under the provisions of the Act: The Royal Burgh of Peebles and District Community Council. The second organisation came into being through the quite natural fear that the unbridled forces of the increasingly remote regional authority could act against the interests of the local community: this latter became the Peebles Civic Society.

The Royal Burgh of Peebles and District Community Council is one of ten community councils set up by the Tweeddale District Council within Tweeddale, and it covers the former town council area and part of the immediately surrounding district that includes most of Eshiels. It has a statutory base but does not have a statutory function; it is not a local authority but nevertheless it is expected to take such action in the community as appears to the members to be desirable and practicable. There are eighteen elected members, one­third of whom retire annually; they represent the whole area and not specific wards. The community council may co-opt up to six more members, including nominees of local organisations.