SBC system blamed over abbey lights

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A LACK of democracy in the current governance arrangements at Scottish Borders Council is being blamed for the failure to solve problems that have hit the floodlighting at Jedburgh Abbey.

Temporary arrangements were put in place at a cost of £5,000 to ensure the historic 900-year-old abbey was illuminated during the festive season, after the permanent lighting system was switched off because of safety concerns.

Replacing the failed system is the responsibility of the council, and the cost has been put at £50,000. For the Christmas and New Year celebrations, temporary mobile lighting units were installed until January 5.

Jedburgh and district SNP councillor Jim Brown said: “Although I was glad to see the abbey illuminated over Christmas, I would rather the £5,000 had been used to help fund a complete new system,” Mr Brown said.

“Let’s hope that the SNP group gain enough new councillors after the May election to be part of the administration.

“We intend to change the present system of executive scrutiny back to the more open and democratic committee system making bad decisions like this, less likely.”

“I have been in contact with the director of planning and infrastructure at SBC and hope he can help resolve this matter. We are heading for the tourist season.

“We simply need a couple of quotes from local tradesmen to resolve these issues.”