Kelso scaffolding will stay up for weeks to come

No way through to retail units on Roxburgh Street, Kelso.
No way through to retail units on Roxburgh Street, Kelso.

Roxburgh Street in Kelso will be closed to traffic for a further six weeks at least to allow repairs to be made to a town centre building in dangerous condition.

The busy street was closed to traffic and pedestrians over six weeks ago after the discovery of a dangerous chimney at its corner with Horsemarket off the main square.

Roxburgh Street closure.

Roxburgh Street closure.

Pedestrian access was restored two weeks later after the removal of the chimney, but the road has remained closed to traffic since due to a dangerous gable wall on the same privately-owned building.

And now Scottish Borders Council has confirmed the scaffolding will remain in place for a further six weeks.

A spokesman said: “A structural engineer has investigated the gable wall of the building, which has brought to light that the extent of repairs needed to make the wall fully safe are greater than initially thought.

“This means a large section of the gable facing Roxburgh Street requires to be removed and rebuilt.

“The current scaffolding needs to be kept in place in order to keep the building safe, meaning the road remains closed to traffic, although pedestrian access will continue to be maintained.

“As soon as the structural engineer is satisfied that the building is stable following the repairs, the width of the scaffolding can be reduced, allowing traffic to once again use the road.

“The council is now directly undertaking the work under powers granted by the 2003 Building (Scotland) Act and is making every effort to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, while also making sure public safety is the priority.”

While the prospect of works continuing until mid-December is still worrying traders, they are hopeful that once the scaffolding is reduced, full access to the street could be restored long before six weeks are up.

Steve Fletcher, of Seasons Coffee Shop, said that he has seen a marked improvement in footfall along the street since shopkeepers launched a combined publicity push last month to highlight that they are still open for business.

“I do think a few people have made an extra effort to support the businesses up the street, and I think footfall has picked up,” he said.

“I think if people realise as well that they can still come down Union Street to the Co-op, they can get down that way.”

The one-way order in Union Street has been temporarily suspended to allow access while diversions direct traffic from the town centre through Woodmarket, Rose Lane, East Bowmont Street and Bowmont Street.