Bonchester Bridge recycling bin dispute nearing end

Councillor Watson McAteer is hoping to see Bonchester Bridge's recycling bins moved back to their old home soon.
Councillor Watson McAteer is hoping to see Bonchester Bridge's recycling bins moved back to their old home soon.

A solution to a health and safety wrangle which has been blighting the heart of a Borders village for the last year could soon be at hand.

The problem started when recycling containers were removed from a purpose-made shelter in Bonchester Bridge and relocated close to the village hall.

That decision was taken on health and safety grounds, as a telephone line runs across the shelter to a pole sited near the riverside.

There are also overhead power cables nearby, and contractors had to use a crane-type attachment to lift and empty the containers.

Because of the close proximity of the overhead cables they halted such operations, citing concerns over potential injuries or damage. That’s when the decision was taken to move the unsightly containers close to the hall.

That has left the purpose-made shelter and concrete base empty and the containers in full view next to the hall, however. It has also resulted in the removal of some parking spaces and accessibility.

Hawick and Denholm’s councillors have been trying to resolve the problem, leading to a site visit with council officers.

BT was asked to help and quoted a substantial figure, more than £8,000, to put its cables underground.

Officers have since held further discussions and are waiting for confirmation that they can move the pole and cables.

Meanwhile, ward councillors have agreed to use cash from a small schemes fund to help resolve the problem.

It is understood this can be achieved for half the previous figure, but the project needs to be invoiced and under way before the end of March to comply with end-of-financial-year budget processes.

Ward councillor Watson McAteer said officers were now waiting to hear confirmation that this can be achieved, but he is hopeful that a solution will be found.

He said: “I am delighted that we appear to have finally broken the impasse with regards to returning the recycling bins to their purpose-made shelter at Bonchester.

“Council officers have been engaging with BT, and a solution to the problem has been identified.

“While this will incur substantial costs, Hawick and Denholm’s councillors are very happy to use their small schemes fund to support the community.

“It will be great to see the bins finally returned to their home base, greatly improving the area next to the village hall.”