Fix wall before a child dies

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There has been renewed calls for a badly-damaged wall near Selkirk High School to be fixed – before schoolchildren are either killed or badly injured.

The wall on Hillside Terrace has a huge hole near the bottom, and it’s feared it can only be a matter of time before it falls.

And as schoolchildren have been seen jostling each other on the way to school, concerns have been raised that one of them could inadvertently collapse the wall and end up underneath it.

The issue has come up before – but local councillors have said that nothing can be done until the ownership of the wall is cleared up.

But at the meeting of the new Selkirk Community Council on Monday, August 14 (see page 2), Selkirk resident John Emond said that the wall should be repaired – and then find out who is to face the bill – before an accident happens.

He said: “Private owners have got responsibility to ensure the safety of their properties. This is one which needs to be repaired with some urgency, especially with the schoolchildren going back this week.

“It is up to the community council to keep at them.”

New community councillor Kevin Crawford said: “It has to be taken back a few metres either way and then refooted. It can be fixed quite simply.”

Selkirkshire Councillor and MSP Michelle Ballantyne said there was an issue with legal precedence.

She said: “There are very few walls which SBC is legally responsible for repairing, so if we start repairing walls we are not legally responsible for, people will say ‘why not repair this one?’

“We think we know who the owner of the wall is – we are 99.9% sure in fact – and we have passed this information on to Amey [the infrastructure support service provider responsible for the A7 trunk road], but we can’t actually force their hand.

“What may happen is that they [Amey] block it off, and with no pavement there the schoolchildren will have to cross the road, or walk on the road, which is potentially a bigger risk to safety.”

Chairman Alisatair Pattullo said: “We need to make this happen as soon as possible, as we don’t want to be talking about this again after a child has been hurt or killed.”