NEARLY £35,000 has been raised by Newcastleton community council to install CCTV in and around the village.
Of the £34,890 awarded, Scottish Borders Council’s Teviot and Liddesdale Area Partnership gave £17,490.
Another £7,400 was secured from the Scottish Land Fund Community Fund and £8,000 from the community council, Newcastleton & District Community Trust and the resilience group.
Another £2,000 has been pledged by groups including Newcastleton School Partnership, Polysport members and Newcastleton Business Forum as well as individuals.
The community council will install a system which provides a series of linked cameras for all entrances to the village and locations prone to regular vandalism.
The intention is to have a resource which helps the village reduce criminal behaviour, combats the impacts of climate change and provides flood prevention measures through an early warning system.
Eight locations have been identified, including the primary school, at its request, the two entrances to the village, the fire station, Grapes Hotel, Whithaugh Pool and upstream on the Liddel Water. There is already a camera at the fuel pumps.
The report to the area partnership said: “After a series of break-ins and thefts in the village in 2018, the community council developed the idea of a CCTV system.
“Residents were saying they felt unsafe at night and wanted a visible police presence.
But, because of pressures on police services and their geographical location, the community council believes an increased police presence is unlikely and CCTV is needed.
“It considers the village to be vulnerable geographically in the length of time it takes emergency services to travel to the village and the opportunities for people to use local routes to transport goods over the border.
“There have been incidents during lockdown of groups of drivers travelling through the village at speed and one case of them deliberately blocking the northern entrance so they could travel at speed through the village.
“It believes the CCTV network will reduce cases of Newcastleton being targeted for criminal activity and deter drivers racing through.
“Images will be able to be used in prosecutions, if needed.
“The cameras will also help flood monitoring until a flood protection scheme is in place.”
At the community council’s March meeting members celebrated the awarding of the grant by the area partnership the previous night.
Barbara Elborn, secretary, said: “We can jump in now we have the full budget of ringfenced. That’s £34,000 of effort so well done to the community.”
Greg Cuthbert, chairman, added: “It was very well received at last night’s meeting.
“I think other communities will look at doing the same. It resonated with other communities.
“They talked about how we had suffered because of the flooding and people are very sympathetic towards us at the moment.
“We added in two or three cameras facing onto the river which will give the council’s emergency planning team in the bunker a view of what is happening.
“There is still an information and communications problem so, if they have their eyes on the cameras, it won’t stop the flood but will help the response during it.
“The cameras will be a great addition to the village’s infrastructure.”
Newcastleton also led a project for all eight community councils in Teviot and Liddesdale to be awarded £4,878 to commission Alchemy Arts to produce a film depicting people’s thoughts on extending the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle.
The film will give communities a voice and an insight into the social gain of extending the railway.
A marketing campaign will be launched after the film is produced and a programme of discussion delivered to link in with the Union Connectivity consultation currently underway.
The funding will be used to cover research, costs, film production, marketing, photography and technical support.
Greg said: “It’s hugely exciting that we’ve pulled this off. It’s a great community project.”
Barbara added: “The film is about what the railway means to us and its significance in getting it back into southern Scotland, giving us access to a sustainable transport system which we don’t have.”