THE hustings for Tweeddale West candidates took place at Peebles Burgh Hall on Tuesday.

Around 40 members of the public attended the event which was organised by the town's community council and chaired by Reverend Calum Macdougall.

Every candidate was invited and four turned up to explain why they were standing and to face questions from the audience.

The attendees were Drummond Begg (Liberal Democrat), Viv Thomson (Scottish National Party), Dominic Ashmole (Green) and Eric Small (Conservatives).

John Smith (also Conservative) was unable to attend but sent a statement which was read out by Reverend Macdougall and mentioned local issues including litter, dog fouling and fly tipping along with education, apprenticeships, chances for young entrepreneurs.

Mr Begg opened proceedings by listing his three priorities as health and social care, education and environmental issues.

Mr Ashmole spoke next, also highlighting climate change issues, sustainable transport and hope for the future.

Mr Small followed and mentioned environmental concerns, roads and Peebles High School.

Ms Thomson then talked about education, better bus services, electric charging points and listening to people.

The four were then asked pre-set questions on conflict between the councillors’ role and SBC; the management of the Chambers Institute; and facilities for tourists.

These were followed by questions from the audience on a number of subjects including whether they would be holding surgeries; the closing of public toilets in the town; how to improve Scottish Borders Council efficiency; other non-bike tourism opportunities; the climate emergency; anti-social behaviour; and residents; and the cost of living crisis.

The event ended with a statement from each candidate spelling out why voters should vote for them.

Mr Small highlighted his five years of experience as a councillor, serving on the various committees and attending nine community council meetings each month. He responded to criticism from the audience of his lack of surgeries by insisting that he never shies away from a question and is available 24/7.

Mr Ashmole mentioned the Scottish Greens’ Holyrood record and promised street by street home insulation. He also spoke of protecting bus services and improving pavements and cycle paths.

Mr Begg said he was a good organiser with energy and passion and that he was also a good listener. He mentioned a recovery plan for health and social care, the new Peebles High School and the climate emergency and how he was relishing the challenge.

Ms Thomson spoke of her considerable experience as a trade unionist and at the Citizens Advice Bureau where see sees the impact of mental health problems. She also mentioned that she will never shy away from any questions.

At the conclusion, Reverend Macdougall praised the standard and qualities of the candidates.

Les Turnbull, chairman of Peebles Community Council said: “The hustings event held for the Tweeddale West candidates was another success for Peebles community council. The event was well attended with a variety of questions covering many different issues being asked by attendees. This has demonstrated the value of holding such events.”

In addition to the candidates in attendance, Julia Reid is standing for the Scottish Labour Party.