More concerns voiced over return of guests to West Linton party mansion

Concerns raised by villagers about guests at West Linton’s Greenloaning party mansion potentially causing an outbreak of coronavirus were echoed at this week’s meeting of community councillors there.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 7:39 pm
Greenloaning Mansion at West Linton, alias Linton Lodge.

Though its legal status as a party venue is currently uncertain following enforcement action by Scottish Borders Council officers in 2018 and failed appeals to Scottish ministers in 2019 and the Court of Session in Edinburgh in January, owner Mike Cameron has resumed hosting groups of guests since the relaxation of lockdown laws last month, as he had been doing since 2008.

It’s still advertised online, at greenloaningmansion.co.uk, and charges as much as £5,980 for a four-night stay, plus extras such as a chauffeur service, catering or use of a spa.

Its resumption of activities after four months off has left villagers grateful for that respite disgruntled about the disruption caused and also worried about the health risks they fear might be posed, and those concerns were shared at the council’s August meeting, held online last night, August 10, via Zoom.

Tweeddale West councillor Heather Anderson told community councillors: “I believe there were 30-odd people there the other weekend for a stag party.

“The police and residents are very concerned, with those sorts of numbers, about breaches of Covid-19 guidance on social distancing and records being kept of who was there.

“I don’t know where we are today.

“If the classification of the property is in doubt – and Mr Cameron, I understand, is now saying that he doesn’t need to apply for planning permission to host parties as he’s using it as a domestic dwelling house again with only incidental use – it’s difficult for the police to go in there and issue guidance.

“Because of all the activity last week, the police have been called out a number of times.

“I’m very concerned that there’s a risk to the village as there’s a large number of people coming in and not social distancing, getting drunk and wandering around the village.

“It’s quite a concerning situation.

“There needs to be some combined action by Scottish Borders Council and the police as to what they do next to deal with the legal quagmire we seem to be in.

“One of the concerns is that you can’t really disperse a large group of people who don’t live in the village as that could be more dangerous.”

Mrs Anderson urged villagers concerned about being exposed to a heightened risk of contracting coronavirus to contact the police if they are worried about Scottish Government guidelines being flouted, and that plea was backed by community councillor Jez Everest.

“You can call the police just because it’s a large gathering,” he said.

“There doesn’t need to be a lot of noise.”

Council chairman Graham Tulloch agreed that any ongoing problems should continue to be monitored.