Melrose Rugby makes U-turn on St Mary’s Road closure ahead of sevens

Melrose Rugby Club has changed its plans for a temporary stand for next year’s sevens tournament, which would have seen St Mary’s Road closed for a lengthy period.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 12:36 pm
Melrose Sevens is expected to attract more than 10,000 people to the town in April.

The U-turn by the club comes after its operations manager Alan Wilkinson shared the plans for the club’s popular sevens tournament becoming a four-day celebration of the abbreviated game with the town’s community council last month.

There, fears were raised over one end of the town being cut off from the other for two weeks.

However, the club says it has come up with a solution that does not involve a temporary stand and will avoid lengthy inconvenience to local residents.

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St Mary’s Road will now only be closed on the game days of Friday to Sunday, April 10-12, with the club intending to operate a traffic light system, subject to the necessary approval, which will then be shared with the local community.

Philip Morris, sevens tournament director at the Greenyards, said: “An event like this one will of course come with an element of disruption to the usual routine. The Melrose community has embraced the sevens every year, however, concerns around an expanded event are of course completely understandable. For the avoidance of doubt, we’re working really hard to support local businesses as suppliers to the event.

“And we’ll also be consulting with local residents to address any specific concerns they have, too. We are confident the economic boost to Melrose and the surrounding Borders towns during the expanded sevens event will be huge.”

Martin Baird, a community councillor and a butcher in the town, said: “I am happy that Melrose Rugby Club has listened to local businesses and residents about their concerns, and that we have reached a decent compromise.”

Another potential problem brought up by community councillors was the Easter Sunday celebrations in the neighbouring church.

Mr Morris added: “We are working hard to ensure the important Easter Sunday church service is not impacted and people will be able to get to and from the church without significant disruption. Now the traffic situation on St Mary’s Road is becoming clearer, we have a plan that we feel will satisfy our local residents.

“We look forward to sharing this plan with the local minister and her congregation in the coming weeks.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Melrose Community Council, local residents, and businesses for all their amazing support.

“We look forward to putting on a brilliant event in 2020 and continuing to support the local and wider Borders community in the coming years.”