Demolition of historic Jedburgh building agreed as support to save it mounts

Planning chiefs have given the go-ahead for Jedburgh’s scaffolding-clad town centre building to be taken to ground – just one week after a campaign was launched to save it.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 10:03 am
Jedburgh town centre before the scaffold appeared.

The former ground-floor hair salon and upper-floor flats at the corner of 12 Market Place and 2 High Street have been shrouded in scaffolding for over four years.

Last week, a petition against plans to demolish the building was launched, but on Tuesday this week Scottish Borders Council approved its own application to pull the building to the ground and have a replacement constructed.

However, any demolition works will have to wait until a deal is struck with all six of its owners.

Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton in front of the town's scaffolding-clad building in the square.

Town councillor Scott Hamilton told the Southern: “Nothing can happen until we get ownership of the property, and work on that is not moving particularly fast.

“The council has not been able to reach a deal with all the owners yet. Unless it gets them all on board, this cannot progress naturally and will have to go down the compulsory purchase order route.

“It only takes one owner to refuse the offer and that screws the whole thing. It’s a really good offer, and I don’t know why they are refusing it.

“As far as I’m aware, none of the owners are local. If they were local people, they would know what damage they have done to the town and to this historic building.”

The council announced its plans for the category-C listed Georgian building in August, saying it would rebuild on the gap site with funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

“It’s a pity that a building like this has to be lost,” Mr Hamilton added.

“It’s historic, and its architecture is quite amazing.

“Being in the centre of town, it is iconic, and to lose it is to lose part of the heritage of Jedburgh, but I am quite confident that the plans that will come forward to replace it will be in keeping.

“It’s an opportunity to get a building that will be more sustainable and future-proof.

“I do agree that it is sad. However, it is necessary.”

Going forward, he’s hoping to see better communication from the local authority amid concerns that townsfolk feel they’ve been left in the dark so far.

“I have asked for monthly updates on this, the next of which is due tomorrow,” he told us.

“Now that we have got the plans through, it is essential that we move forward as quickly as we can to secure ownership.

“There is a timescale with planning, and if there’s going to be further delays that means further costs.”

Last week, a petition to save the building was launched by Minto’s Rob Armstrong.

He claims the local authority has “brainwashed” residents into thinking the building is dangerous and is urging it to rethink its plans.

Disappointed to learn of the decision yesterday, he vowed the campaign against the building’s demolition will carry on.

“They can’t ignore the huge support there has been for the petition,” Mr Armstrong said.

“What we will do now is take advice on this, lobby the council with the petition and find a way of opening it up to a public inquiry as an appeal.

“They have to take this petition into consideration.

The 50-year-old antiques consultant has previously lobbied to secure listed building status for buildings across the region.

He added: “More than 400 signatures in under a week shows there’s a huge amount of support for restoring this building. We are not going to give up, and we are going to fight the decision all the way.

“We thought they would give approval because that’s the way they were always heading, but it’s a decision we will fight against.

“The campaign has just started as far as we are concerned.”