97-year-old Borderer left housebound by damage to drive

Walkerburn's Mollie McIntosh.
Walkerburn's Mollie McIntosh.

A pensioner has been left as good as housebound since the access to her Walkerburn home was damaged by builders renovating a neighbouring property.

The plight of Mollie McIntosh, made a Member of the British Empire for services to her community in 1991 and named as Tweeddale’s citizen of the year in 2008, was highlighted at Scottish Borders Council’s latest full meeting.

The 97-year-old lives at Stoneyhill Lodge – an A-listed structure in Galashiels Road directly opposite an identical building called Sunnybrae Lodge.

The houses, built in 1868 as part of the estates of the mill-owning Ballantyne family, share a driveway.

Sunnybrae Lodge fell into disrepair following the death of its owner and, last year, having been acquired by the council, an extensive programme of refurbishment was commissioned with a view to selling the property on the open market.

That work was carried out by a Galashiels firm of builders which has since gone into administration.

Councillor Gavin Logan, whose Tweeddale East ward includes Walkerburn, said extensive damage to the Tarmac around Miss McIntosh’s home had been caused by heavy plant during the renovation and called for action to put that right.

In a question to Hawick and Hermitage councillor Ron Smith, the authority’s executive member for planning and the environment, Mr Logan asked when the required repairs would be carried out, adding: “It is preventing her from leaving the house.”

Mr Smith gave a commitment that the matter would be investigated.

Miss McIntosh, who broke her hip in June 2015 after attending a social event in West Linton, said she hoped the work would be carried out quickly.

“I don’t drive anymore, so I depend on my mobility walker to get around,” she told the Southern.

“The trouble is that the Tarmac outside my house is now rutted and potholed, and I really struggle with my walker to negotiate a route to the pavement.

“Needless to say, I’m really scared of falling over after my accident last year, and things will only get worse when the winter weather bites.

“I appreciate that firms go out of business but, as the council contracted the work, then I feel it has a responsibility to put things right, and I welcome the fact my situation will be investigated. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.”

Mr Smith later confirmed that Sunnybrae Lodge would be advertised for sale on the open market early this year.