President let down over grass cutting

With the spotlight firmly on Duns this week, the Summer Festival Committee wanted the town looking at its best but this has led to a dispute with SBC over grass cutting.

Reiver’s Week could not have got off to a better start. Temperatures have been above 20 degrees nearly every day so far and crowds have come out in force to support the event and the 2013 Reivers party.

Awash with bunting and other decorations, Duns is looking the part but president of Duns Summer Festival, Stuart Renton said that there had been some last minute rushing around to ensure one area of the town was in good shape.

He and his fellow committee members had expected Scottish Borders Council to cut the grass on Castle Street, a route passed on numerous occasions during Reivers Week festivities, including Monday’s crowning of the Wynsome Mayde.

However, despite discussions with SBC’s Road Departments, the grass wasn’t cut meaning that a local volunteer had to step in to do the job a day before this year’s event got underway.

“It was really disappointing,” Stuart told ‘The Berwickshire’.

“The committee work hard all year round to ensure we have the town looking good and the festival is the best it can be.

“The grass on Castle Street is normally cut fairly regularly without any issue but I was told there wasn’t the resources to do it in time for Reiver’s Week.

“Thankfully Duns Lawnmower Centre stepped in but that shouldn’t have had to happen.”

Whilst admitting that the local authority didn’t carry out the grass cutting, citing a lack of man power as the reason, a spokesperson said SBC is right behind the event.

They commented: “We try our best to support local communities in their endeavours relating to events like this.

“However it is not always possible to redirect resources from routine tasks to provide dedicated services for these events. We are happy and willing to maintain a high level of support to communities during these celebrations, but would ask their forbearance during peak periods of activity.

“It should be noted, that this banking at Castle Street has not been cut especially for Reiver’s Week in recent years.”

With Reiver’s Week creating a fantastic buzz around the town, the last thing anyone wants is for the future of one of the festival’s highlights- Saturday’s street party- to be put under threat.

But that is the situation the festival committee find themselves in after Police Scotland warned any underage drinking would result in the party being banned in future years.

In the spring, a working group led by Scottish Borders Council’s Safer Communities Team, including Police Scotland, the Scottish Borders Alcohol & Drugs Partnership, Addiction Borders, and Youth Borders launched a drive to encourage responsible drinking at Borders festivals and now everyone involved with Reiver’s Week is hoping

The summer festival committee have made numerous pleas via the Summer Festival’s Facebook page for people to behave responsibly and Stuart Renton said he hoped people had heeded the warnings.

“Underage drinking is a real concern for us,” he added.

“Duns is t now the only Border town permitted to hold an outdoor street party and it would be an awful shame if we were to lose it.”