HB Club is a vital resource for Walkerburn

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After reading your recent article, “Domino effect could leave club chapping…”, I felt compelled to offer my views on the matter.

Having only recently become a regular patron of the Henry Ballantyne Club in Walkerburn, I find it appalling that closure is now a real danger to the community’s only remaining social venue.

The last statement from the member of the family complaining about the noise said it all: “We must endure it for a further month” – indicating that the residents have had the closure of this club in their sights all along. This is especially insulting to the community considering that the club has had to shell out thousands of pounds in efforts to appease the complaints of the residents.

While I believe that any resident is entitled to some peace and quiet, there must be some understanding when living in a community – especially near a community venue. I live next to the George Hotel and there were many occasions during its operation when customers could be quite noisy, particularly leaving the premises at night.

However, rather than create animosity by needlessly involving the authorities, I kept a dialogue with the hotel owner and it was agreed that any problems beyond my tolerance could be resolved quickly and easily with a phone call.

Had I wanted to engage in a campaign to close this hotel due to noise, I wouldn’t have required much more ammunition than what the resident in question has used. The difference? I respected the reality of purchasing property near a licensed establishment as well as its importance to the community and rather than create enemies, I chose to make friends.

As a result, an accord was in place with me and surrounding residents which was acceptable to all involved, including the hotel and its patrons.

The HB Club is now the sole gathering place of Walkerburn’s community.

The club is not just a social bar, it is a haven for children who engage in safe activities twice a week rather than wandering the streets; it is a refuge for OAPs who enjoy a game of bingo; it is a meeting place for members of the community who organise festivals, charity drives, community excursions and sporting events.

It is very rare in these days to see any community engage so successfully in the initiatives that make it a warm, welcome place to live. The success of these initiatives is due to the commitment of a small group of people supported by the community at large.

It is especially important to identify that the licence holder named in your article, Mags Henderson, is one of the most noted members of this group. To imply that Mrs Henderson is responsible for communication “breaking down” is an unfair vilification of someone who has only sought a peaceful and amicable resolution to this unwinnable situation.

I say “unwinnable” because many of us feel that there was never any intention on the part of the residents concerned to find a happy medium. The last quotation in your article, I think, clearly identifies their true motives.

I find it sad that the residents living above this establishment would chose to ignore the function and importance of the HB Club simply because they wish to live in a vacuum – they could simply have chosen a property less than a mile up the road and lived in virtual silence, apart from the occasional noises of grazing farm animals.

Having said that, I’m confident they would have found reason to raise a complaint with the neighbouring sheep for crying “baa” in the night – much louder than dominoes chapping.

Mr D. Leslie

Walkerburn