SBC told to grasp nettle in wall dispute saga
residents and businesses are being “held hostage” in a dispute between the local authority and the owners of the Glen Hotel over who is legally responsible for the maintenance of a crumbling retaining wall in Yarrow Terrace.
Scottish Borders Council (SBC)has been urged to “grasp the nettle” and repair the wall, leaving the ownership dispute till later.
SBC has installed temporary traffic management arrangements on the road around the retaining wall and at the junction of Buccleuch Road and Yarrow Terrace, just at the south end of Selkirk Bridge.
A statement from SBC this week said the condition of the wall had been causing concern for a number of months.
“As a result of the latest inspection, the northbound lane of Yarrow Terrace has been cordoned off to give protection to passing motorists,” said an SBC spokesperson.
“The council is seeking to determine a satisfactory solution to this matter and apologises for the disruption caused to road users by this temporary arrangement.”
Temporary security fencing has been in place for some time around the wall, but the stonework has continued to deteriorate.
SBC’s lawyers are believed to be in contact with the legal representatives of the owners of the Glen Hotel in an effort to establish who is responsible for the upkeep of the wall.
The town’s community council is less than happy with the situation. The issue was not raised at this week’s March community council session, but it has been frequently discussed at other meetings.
Community council planning spokesman Ian King this week circulated his views by email to his fellow councillors, and to the town’s Scottish Borders councillors.
Mr King, a former senior member of the planning department at SBC, says the local authority should take immediate remedial action and repair the wall and then seek financial redress from whoever the owners turn out to be, if it proves that SBC is not legally responsible.
“My feelings are that this situation has dragged on for far too long and is now causing a real impediment to the flow of traffic and an inconvenience to the public, both residents and businesses.
“The public should not be held hostage due to an on-going wrangle between SBC and the property owners.
“The local authority needs to get the work done now and then, if they establish someone else is the legal owner, then they can seek financial redress for the cost of the repairs once they are complete.
“Some people are having to wait as long as quarter-of-an hour at this road section as a result of all this. This matter should never have been allowed to drag on until this stage.
“The council [SBC] needs to grasp the proverbial nettle and get this work done quickly.”
But speaking to local Scottish Borders councillor Gordon Edgar (Ind), SBC executive member for roads and infrastructure, it becomes apparent why no-one is keen to claim responsibility for the wall.
“I agree, something might have to happen like that,” he said when asked if SBC should repair the wall and worry about ownership later.
“But it’s not just a few hundred quid we’re talking about here – the cost could be tens of thousands of pounds.
“The owner of the hotel says the wall belongs to the council, while the council says the owner of the hotel is responsible.
“The safety of the community will be what it comes down to when deciding when something gets done.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 7 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west