Ballroom roof’s last waltz

Fears that the roof could be about to fall in at the ballroom of a luxury Borders hotel has led to an urgent bid to replace it.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 10:58 am
The ballroom roof at the Hydro Hotel in Peebles.

The glazed roof at the Peebles Hydro Hotel in Innerleithen Road is in a perilous state and has suffered serious erosion.

A pane of glass recently dropped out and landed on the stage several metres away.

The problem is widespread across the whole of the glazed roof area and there have been a number of similar incidents previously.

Hotel bosses say several of the glazing bars could fall out at any point and the roof is inspected on a weekly basis to check that the room is safe to use.

Now an application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council planning department to replace the glazed areas with a slated roof, which would have the advantage of removing the danger from falling panes.

A hotel spokesperson said: “The hotel industry has been really badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the hotel is struggling to deal with the ongoing costs in the face of the continuing restrictions.

“These repairs are absolutely essential for the safety of the public and, because functions are cancelled just now and the room is mostly unused it is a unique and ideal opportunity to get the repairs carried out as quickly as possible before restrictions are lifted and the space can be opened up again.

“These are exceptional times and the hotel really cannot afford to lose any potential revenue.

“The roof is within the internal ‘courtyard’ between the principal front elevation and the rear bedroom block. The roof is entirely unseen from anywhere outwith the site and so it is more important to protect the interior and the safety of staff and guests rather than retain the glazed roof over this area and therefore a solid roof replacement is the preferable option.”

Another consideration is that usage patterns for the function rooms at the B-listed hotel have changed over recent years.

Most bookings are now for daytime use for conferences where blackout is required and due to the design of the roof space achieving a blackout is a labour intensive and hazardous operation in which staff have to pull blackout curtains over the top of the glazed ceiling and walk the frame of the glazed ceiling with a seven metre drop below them.

The spokesperson added: “Modern usage really requires a much more versatile and robust lighting solution.”