Another twist in the wall

Sandy and Jean Glendinning from Walkerburn whose front wall was demolished three years ago after a car smashed into it, and have been in dispute with SBC.
Sandy and Jean Glendinning from Walkerburn whose front wall was demolished three years ago after a car smashed into it, and have been in dispute with SBC.

A Walkerburn couple are still in dispute with Scottish Borders Council over who is liable to fix their wall – three years after a car crashed into it.

Jean and Sandy Glendinning’s front garden is now at the mercy of the elements, especially when it rains, and they say that the longer it is left as it is, the more dangerous it is getting.

The couple, who stay in Galashiels Road, have been discussing liability for the wall with the council for 10 years ... but after the accident on July 23, 2013, it has become an impasse.

And in the monsoon-like conditions of last week, the Glendinnings had had enough.

Jean told us: “Every time a car went past the house, it sent a tsunami of water into the garden and the air vents of the house.

“As the wall is holding up the pavement and the road beyond, it is not our wall as far as we are concerned.

“It is on our insurance, and the insurers are willing to rebuild the wall to the state it was in before the crash, but now the council say that is not enough and that it needs new foundations.

“The pavement above it is beginning to crumble and if it is not all fixed, the road will collapse.”

And her daughter-in-law, Karina Henderson, said she was worried that someone was going to be hurt.

She said: “All it will take is someone walking home from the pub thinking the barrier is ok to lean on. It will be a different story then.”

A spokesman for SBC said: “The council does not accept that it is responsible for the maintenance of the wall.

“We are in ongoing correspondence with the solicitors who represent the insurers of some of the homeowners on whose land the wall is situated, with a view to resolving this matter.”

However, another twist to the tale came this week when MSP Christine Grahame visited the Glendinnings.

The MSP said: “I am most concerned for the safety of my constituents as the damaged wall is very vulnerable, as it is also subject to extensive flooding from the road.

“The insurers are in dispute with Scottish Borders Council which claims it did not accept liability for the wall, but I now have sight of documents which apparently established that its predecessor, the former Peeblesshire County Council did accept liability as far back as 1935.

“I have forwarded these documents to its legal department today and await a response.”

The documents, extracts from the Peeblesshire County Council Roads Committee meetings between 1934 and 1936, show that the committee was worried about the retaining walls on Galashiels Road due to the increase of traffic, and also that liability was accepted by that committee.

One minute, in 1935, read: “The clerk reported that, as instructed, he had communicated with the various proprietors, informing them that the committee is willing to assume responsibility for the retaining walls on the south side of the roadway immediately east of the George Hotel, provided the owners of the outhouses will have these removed to permit of the necessary works and agree to give off, free of charge, the ground required for strengthening.”

Mrs Grahame said: “For me, that seems to seal the argument.”