A HEATED discussion took place in Melrose last week after plans to relocate a bench and bin were approved without consulting community councillors.

Moving the furnishings, located in the Market Square, will allow additional outside seating for Abbey Fine Wines, which had properly sought council advice on the proposal.

On Friday, councillors David Parker and Jenny Linehan met with members of the community council at the plaza to discuss the matter, which was raised during a "heated discussion" at last Wednesday's meeting.

Mr Parker (Ind) explained that such decisions are made regularly by Scottish Borders Council and it would not be feasible to discuss each one with the respective community councils.

After a brief conversation, a decision was made as to the new locations for the bench and bin.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “Scottish Borders Council is seeking Melrose Community Council’s views on the relocation of a bench and bin within the plaza area in the Market Square, Melrose.

“The proposal follows community concerns in the past regarding obstruction to pedestrians when an adjacent businesses utilises space immediately outside its premises for a small number of tables and chairs.

“The business has actively sought the council’s advice regarding the placement of outdoor seating and the costs of the relocation of the street furniture will be covered by the business itself.

“We believe this solution provides an appropriate compromise which addresses local concerns, supports this business and also enables the plaza area to continue to be used for community purposes.”

Mary Douglas, chair of Melrose Community Council said: “Although there was, apparently, no obligation on SBC to inform and involve Melrose and District Community Council about permission that has been granted to move a bench and rubbish bin in the public square, we would have appreciated more notice than an item on the agenda on Wednesday with no prior information.

“The move is to enable a local business to locate tables and chairs in the square without blocking access to the road crossing, pavement and square itself.

“After heated discussion at the meeting on Wednesday it was agreed to meet in the square on Friday to see at first-hand what was involved.

“Members of the community council, members of the community and two councillors met in the square, which resulted in a better understanding of the situation which had not been clearly or correctly presented.

“The community were able to advise where the seat and bin should be moved to, avoiding a memorial stone in one corner of the square and were told the situation would be monitored for a year.”