THE green light has been given to demolish a boundary wall deemed at risk of collapse at an historic Borders building.

Harmony House in Melrose is a category B-listed early 19th century building which regularly hosts the Borders Book Festival.

The proposals approved this week by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) will see a section of the wall partially demolished and reinstated.

A report said the potential risk of harm to the public was increased by the fact that the boundary wall was shared with nearby St Mary’s School.

The two-storey building dates back to 1807 and is enclosed by garden walls about 3m (10ft) in height.

According to a report submitted to SBC, part of the west garden wall is leaning “significantly” and is “unstable”.

It is planned to partially demolish the central part of the wall – currently propped up with temporary timber bracing – and rebuild it, matching the original structure.

A heritage impact assessment submitted with the plans states: “The potential risk of harm to persons in the event of collapse, and in particular to children, is elevated by the neighbouring St Mary’s School sharing the subject boundary garden wall.

“The affected section of wall requires careful demolition and full reconstruction upon a formal foundation.”

It adds: “There will be very little impact upon the visual appearance of the reconstructed section of garden wall which will be re-built matching the original structure and retained adjacent sections.

“The proposals do not affect any other element of the garden wall and therefore have no effect upon the historic significance of Harmony House, the neighbouring listed buildings, Melrose Abbey nor Melrose Conservation Area.”

The reconstruction is described as “essential” to stop the wall from collapsing and to ensure its long-term stability.

The eight-bedroom house, near Melrose Abbey, lies within the National Trust for Scotland-owned Harmony Garden.