Cash boost for village halls but Gala church decision delayed

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Two village halls are to benefit from a landfill tax cash boost.

The executive committee of Scottish Borders Council agreed on Tuesday to make grants totalling more than £33,000 to improve the community facilities in St Boswells and Whitsome, Berwickshire.

Councillors were told that the kitty in the so-called Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) stood at nearly £54,000 and that the two schemes met the eligibility criteria of the scheme’s regulatory body.

As a result, the final phase of the refurbishment of St Boswells Village Hall will now be completed – the grant of £16,125 supplementing more than £4,000 already raised by the hall committee for the supply and installation of new stage lighting and the replacement of rainwater pipes and guttering.

Another £17,361 has gone to Whitsome Village Hall after its management committee failed in a bid for lottery funding to improve the grounds around the building which was erected in 2006. The grant will cover the costs of hard standing areas, replacement kerbs and a new drainage system.

However, a decision on a third bid for grant funding – on behalf of Our Lady & St Andrews Catholic Church in Galashiels – was deferred by councillors.

The executive had been asked to award £15,050 to allow the replacement of four east facing stained glass windows at the B-listed building.

Councillors heard that clear glass had been installed during stonework restorations two years ago, but this had resulted in excess sunlight posing a risk to the ornate interior paintwork.

The church has raised over £21,000 of the £36,000 needed to install the original translucent leaded glass.

A council spokesperson said: “The decision was deferred to enable officers to discuss alternative and less expensive solutions with the applicants.”