Public inquiry plea to sort out future of 'eyesore' Jedburgh High Street building
A plea has been made for a public inquiry to help determine the future of a building labelled an ‘eyesore’ on Jedburgh High Street.
The former ground-floor hair salon and upper floor flats at the corner of 12 Market Place and 2 High Street have been covered in scaffolding since 2015 after being judged dangerous due to falling masonry.
The council has been unable to secure the co-operation of the category C-Listed building’s six absentee owners to have it knocked down.
It has therefore pushed ahead for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to secure its demolition and a hearing date was originally set for Thursday, April 22.
That date has now been set back to Wednesday, May 5, at the behest of one of the objectors.
Ken Goddard, the lead advisor to an objector in the case, is unhappy the CPO hearing is to be held virtually.
He would ideally like the date set back further to enable the public to attend in person and have their say in the light of a petition launched to save the building, which was built in 1866.
He said: "The fact is that my client would like to have his property back, he hasn’t been living in it for five years, largely because of essential repairs but now they are demolishing the building internally, so It’s going to be very difficult for my client to get a second floor flat reinstated if there is no first floor or third floor.
"Apart from that the property is also subject to a mortgage and he is being pressed into make a decision he is not able to make.
"I’m not happy that it’s going to be a virtual meeting because I think the community needs to be involved in a proper public inquiry. It’s an historic building and it seem the council is intent on intimidating owners to surrender their properties. The council is trying to bulldoze their way through this.”
That is not the view of Jedburgh and District’s Scott Hamilton, who is fully supportive of the CPO bid.
He said: “The objectors manoeuvring of the date is a bitter disappointment not just to me but to the whole of Jedburgh. Whilst I’m disappointed by the date change I remain confident in the council’s case for the CPO and I also believe the eventual outcome will be a positive one for our town.
“I have heard comment that the objectors advisor is wishing a public inquiry because of the public interest in the future of the site. Let me be clear to the objector, we are dealing with the here and now, we are dealing with a decline in the footfall on our high street and we are dealing with businesses unable to operate due to the pandemic regulations. This is not helped by the enormity of scaffolding on the High Street. Going forward I would suggest to the objector to let the council progress with the CPO and leave the elected representatives to deal with the ‘public interest’.