Jedburgh traders and residents tired of a scaffolding-clad dangerous building blighting the centre of their home town have been warned that it will remain an eyesore for the foreseeable future.
Scottish Borders Council has admitted that there is no end in sight for the scaffolding that has been surrounding the private property off the town’s market square for over three years.
Scaffolding was put up around the building, at the corner of Exchange Street and High Street, in June 2015, and it looks set to remain there indefinitely, councillors have been told.
At the full meeting of the council held last Thursday, Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott asked the authority’s ruling administration for an update on the works.
He asked: “Would the administration please remind me how long the scaffolding has been in place on the building in Jedburgh square on the corner of the High Street and Exchange Street?
“More importantly, could they give an indication as to when it will be removed?”
Responding to that question on behalf of the administration, Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers, the authority’s executive member for planning and environment, said: “I know that councillors are acutely aware that this is an incredibly serious matter.
“The scaffolding and works that you refer to are a real eyesore in the centre of Jedburgh.
“Having visited the site myself, you can see that there are very serious issues here that need to be resolved.
“It’s a matter that we’re all focusing on.
“The fact of the matter, in response to your question, is that the original scaffolding crash deck was erected in June 2015 to protect the public from falling debris.
“The scaffolding crash deck was subsequently extended with access scaffolding and further crash decks to allow for more detailed work to be undertaken and so that they could remove a corner chimney in December 2017.
“The scaffolding was strengthened in early 2018 to allow the proposed tie straps to be installed.
“Due to further movement of the building on the south elevation, the structural scaffolding was strengthened, and work for this was completed in early August 2018.
“The council is now in the process of reviewing options for this building, and the scaffolding will be required to be retained, in order to ensure public safety, until the building is made safe.
“It is not yet possible to confirm, unfortunately, how long the scaffolding will be required to remain in place.”
The extension of the scaffolding in June necessitated the introduction of a one-way system in the heart of Jedburgh as it now protrudes into the road.
The one-way order, expected to last until at least March 2019, makes part of High Street one-way southbound from Jewellers’ Wynd to Canongate southbound and a section of Exchange Street one-way northbound from High Street to Friarsgate.
In response to Mr Mier’s answer, Mr Scott said: “As councillor Miers will no doubt agree, June 2015 to August 2018 is a very long time indeed, sadly with no end in sight at all.
“Could I ask – please, please, a thousand times please, put this at the top of your priority list?”
Mr Miers added: “I couldn’t agree with you more.
“It’s a very serious matter that we’ll try to get to the bottom of in a safe manner.”