Shopping tops Jedburgh chairman’s list

JEDBURGH people want a bigger better supermarket according to the town’s community council chairman Richard Gordon, writes Sally Gillespie.

Giving his report to fellow councillors at last week’s annual general meeting he said: “From soundings I have taken, I’m firmly of the opinion that the majority of townsfolk want better, more competitive shopping provision in Jedburgh than currently exists.”

He said it was one of the subjects the council had discussed over the last year that remained unresolved.

“The town isn’t as one on this issue and there have been differing views expressed courteously and sincerely around this table. I have no doubt that the refusal, earlier this year, of the latest planning application, isn’t the last we’ll hear on the topic”, he said.

The councillor welcomed the near ending of what he described as the saga of 31 High Street, more commonly referred to locally as ‘Bert’s shop’, set to be demolished this summer.

He added: “Hopefully, redevelopment of the site, probably for affordable housing, will be undertaken sooner rather than later.”

But he cautioned: “Steps must be taken to ensure that as much as possible of the public money spent on the site is returned to the coffers.”

He was critical of efforts to renovate the town’s Jubilee fountain, originally commissioned to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887.

Two years ago, the town’s common good fund approved a grant of £8,537 towards the costs of refurbishment work, with the balance of more than £10,000 to be provided by Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government. Work on the structure is complete but questions remain over it being permanently connected to a water supply.

“I find it little short of amazing that a scheme to totally renovate and restore water to the famous Moffat Ram was carried out within four months while work on our more modest fountain has dragged on for years, “ said Councillor Gordon.

The community council’s action to celebrate the present Queen’s Diamond Jubilee include planting pear trees in the gardens at Mary, Queen of Scots’ House for which he thanked Councillors John Bathgate, Ray King and Hugh Wight who were involved.

He added: “I’m sure it will be a success and leave a lasting mark of the Diamond Jubilee in the Royal Burgh. Another scheme under consideration is the installation of fitness equipment along what was the Trim Track. Councillor Kevin Hill has been particularly involved and should be recognised.”

He reported Jedburgh Christmas Lights situation was more secure with more money being donated.

“A big thanks is due to everyone who has helped in the fundraising effort. Keeping Jedburgh lit up at Christmas will always be a challenge but, I’m sure, ways will always be found to ensure the festive season in the town is celebrated in lights”, he said.

Mr Gordon continues as chairman Councillor King as vice chairman, Councillor Joe Coulson as treasurer and Susan Elliot as secretary.