Anger over demolition plans for Borders building at ‘beating heart’ of town

An appeal is being launched to save the 19th century building. Picture: contributed
An appeal is being launched to save the 19th century building. Picture: contributed
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Campaigners fighting to stop a historic building in a Scottish Borders town being demolished have accused councillors of making a secretive and hasty decision.

Rob Armstrong who is fighting to stop the C-listed, early 19th century building in Jedburgh’s Georgian town square being pulled down, said a Freedom of Information request he submitted reveals the building could be saved.

Mr Armstrong said the next step would be seeking advice aimed at launching a public enquiry and appeal.

The early 19th century building, which housed a shop and flats has been covered in scaffolding for four years. Last week Scottish Borders Council (SBC) announced it was to be demolished once all owners were traced.

Campaigners also say they fear that if the building was demolished it would leave an ugly gap site in the centre of the town which attracts thousands of tourists each year.

Mr Armstrong, from Minto in the Borders, described the building as being at the “beating heart of the community.”

“This is a cherished building, one of the most famous buildings in the town square.

“It is a wonderful example of 16th century revival architecture right in the middle of a conservation area.”

A petition launched after the decision has attracted nearly 500 signatures in one week.

Gail Chandler, who signed the petition commented “If we allow this building to be demolished unnecessarily it may mark the beginning of the end of every other listed building which develops a problem. The heart of the town could eventually disappear. Shame on Scottish Borders Council.”

However, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) said whilst engineering reports say the building could be saved it was not viable on economic grounds.

A spokesman for SBC said: “The council has had to take action to make safe this building to fulfil its statutory duties and protect the public. “The council must make decisions based on a range of factors including cost. No viable option to retain the building was identified that represented a reasonable and proportionate use of public funds.

“Historic Environment Scotland has accepted there is a convincing case for demolition.

“The planning and building standards committee approved development guidance for the property in March, which agreed to pursue demolition as the most appropriate solution, and the council continues to work to that end.

“Councillors have been provided with all the necessary information, including expert opinions and the associated analysis and advice, to take fully informed decisions regarding this building.”