Council hit with £43,000 bill to stop roof collapsing on to main road

Sunnybrae Lodge, Walkerburn.
Sunnybrae Lodge, Walkerburn.
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SCOTTISH Borders Council have agreed to fork out over £40,000 to shore up a Walkerburn landmark.

Councillors were warned at Monday’s planning committee meeting that if work was not undertaken soon, then part of the roof of Sunnybrae West Lodge could collapse on to the adjacent A72.

Planning enforcement officer Alan Gueldner reported to the committee that the condition of the roof was so bad that high winds could cause it to collapse.

“The exact nature of this collapse cannot be readily identified, however, there is a very high probability that elements of the structure could fall onto the main A72 road,” he said.

“If this were to occur there is a risk that a member of the public or a motorist could be hurt and the likelihood is that the road would require to be closed for a period of time while the remaining structure is made safe.”

The category A-listed building has a long history of neglect’according to Mr Gueldner, who also highlighted that the council published a compulsory purchase order in January in respect of the building.

The council is currently waiting on the Scottish Government to make a decision on the outcome of that order.

Following approval of the plans, the roof over the former stables will be removed and scaffolding erected inside. Slate will be used to cap the walls and timber used to provide temporary support to a boundary wall which has a ‘significant lean’.

An independent quantity surveyor has calculated the cost of the works to be around £43,000.

And, while the council will attempt to recover the cost from the property’s owner, Mr Gueldner added that there is a risk that this may not be possible.

The money will come from the council’s environment and infrastructure direct action budget.

At the council’s recent budget meeting councillors approved a capital financial plan which included the allocation of £152,000 for Sunnybrae Lodge in 2013/14.

A council spokesman told TheSouthern: “Sunnybrae is a Category A-listed building of national importance and the public interest, in line with Scottish Government policy, is that this ‘Building at Risk’ should be saved and a viable and sustainable end use found.

“The aim is to act as a facilitator and to secure public ownership for a short period of time and use the £152,000 to undertake a restoration of the shell, which will include a new roof over the majority of the property.”

The plan would then be for the council to market the property, seeking a purchaser wishing to restore the building, enabling the council to “recover a proportion of the expenditure”, the spokesman added.