A BYELECTION to find a replacement for outgoing Selkirkshire councillor Michelle Ballantyne will cost more than £25,000.

The former leader of the Conservatives at the local authority was elected on May 4.

But she had already been appointed as a South of Scotland list MSP earlier in the same week.

A game of musical chairs had developed after John Lamont resigned from Holyrood to fight for the forthcoming Westminster election in June, and Rachael Hamilton had stood down as a list representative in an effort to win Lamon's constituency seat.

Mrs Ballantyne held two positions - donating her Scottish Borders Council payments to the Haining Trust in Selkirk - until last month when she announced her resignation.

A byelection has now been arranged for Thursday, February 22 - at a cost of up to £28,000.

Council clerk Jenny Wilkinson said: "Early indications are that the cost for the by-election is likely to be between £25,000 and £28,000.

"These costs include staffing; printing of poll cards, ballot papers and postal packs; venue hire and transport of equipment; electronic equipment hire for postal vote verification and the count; and other ancillary expenses."

There will be a total of 13 polling stations set up for the byelection - St Mary’s Hall, Cappercleuch; Boston Hall, Ettrick; Yarrow Village Hall; Kirkhope Village Hall; Philiphaugh Community Centre; Selkirk Parish Church Hall; two at the Victoria Hall, Selkirk; Ashkirk Village Hall; Lilliesleaf Village Hall; Midlem Village Hall; Bowden Village Hall; and Newtown Community Wing.

The count will take place, electronically, at Scottish Borders Council headquarters on Friday, February 23 with the new councillor announced by lunch time.