A BID to extend the boundaries of the Pentland Hills Regional Park into Peeblesshire has failed.

Local MSP Christine Grahame proposed plans for doubling the size of the park last year.

But her Private Members' Bill attracted strong opposition from Scottish Borders Council as well as from farmers in and around rural Tweeddale.

This week the Holyrood committee tasked with weighing up the pros and cons recommended a rejection of the bill.

Members of the Pentland Hills Regional Park Boundary Bill Committee believe there is little demand for increasing the size of the park.

And they stated that changing the boundaries would lead to an increased financial burden on local authorities.

Convenor James Dornan said: "There is no doubt Christine Grahame is passionate about protecting the landscape of the Pentland Hills for future generations.

"However, we are not convinced extending the Regional Park would give this protection.

"It was clear from the evidence given by local authorities that, far from being a simple line on a map, they were concerned the extension could place a very real financial burden on those local authorities involved in the maintenance of the Regional Park, which could see funding spread even more thinly.

"For a park which plays such an important role in the lives of many people, to do so would have a damaging impact."

Scottish Borders Council had opposed the move due to staffing and financial implications.

And NFU Scotland also raised its concerns over the proposals.

Regional Manager for Lothian and Borders Kerry Barr said: “Aside from the obvious funding implications, there will be clear business implications for farmers and land managers who will have to deal with increased tourist numbers without any kind of support or resource from the Park’s governing bodies.

"These unofficial duties could range from routine maintenance of paths and fencing to dealing with instances of sheep worrying, dog fouling, and cattle disturbances – which, as we know, could have significant ramifications for public safety."

Over recent years, funding and resources for the existing Pentland Hills Regional Park has come under increasing strain as local authority budgets have been tightened and services cut.

Ms Grahame, who represents Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale at Holyrood, expressed her disappointment that the Parliamentary committee did not support the principles of her bill.

Ms Grahame said: “I am of course very disappointed that the Pentland Hills Regional Park Boundary Bill Committee came to the conclusion that it did not support the general principles of my bill.

“There is a need to protect the whole of the Pentland Hills range and I had hoped that the committee would agree with me that this was a role for us, as politicians.

“I am pleased that the Committee recognises the difficulties that local authorities will face in meeting the aims of the Pentland Hills Regional Park in the coming years and the acknowledgement that the introduction of this Bill has created a focus on those difficulties.”