THE decision by a nursing home boss to plate over a slot used for a flood barrier at Tweed Green has caused ripples within the community.

Nearby residents contacted the Peeblesshire News after noticing the metal plate had been attached to the wall of Peebles Nursing Home, preventing the slot from being used to hold the emergency flood protection in place.

The slots for the barrier, believed to have been installed between 2005-2006, are located in the walls of the vennel which links Tweed Avenue to Tweed Green.

They were used on January 24 this year when the Tweed burst its banks and the flood barrier was fitted to protect nearby homes and the rear of Peebles Nursing Home.

It is claimed a police officer prevented an attempt to remove the barrier by a member of staff from the nursing home.

Shortly after the incident, the metal plate was installed by contractors for Mansfield Care, who own the nursing home.

Without the flood barrier in place, locals believe the rear of the nursing home, including Tweed Avenue would be flooded, preventing the safe evacuation for locals and elderly residents of the home.

Emma Neale, who lives at Tweed Green, told the Peeblesshire News: “The nursing home owner Andrew Hume has taken exception to the barrier being fitted when the river is threatening to flood the green but without any explanation, offering an alternative or waiting until residents can find a solution – thus threatening potential flood damage to our properties.

“This barrier has been in existence for over 10 years and allows us to access our properties when the river bursts its banks and is on the green.

“Without it or an alternative in place the defences the council recently invested in are almost redundant as most residents would not be able to safely access their properties while outbuildings and vehicles would also be damaged.

“Also emergency access to the rear of the nursing home itself [on Tweed Avenue] could be hampered so we can’t understand why the owner, if he has an issue with the existing defences, won’t communicate with us to find a solution.”

We contacted Mr Hume, CEO of Mansfield Care, to ask why he had installed the metal plate.

He told us: “I’ve had a considerable consultation with the flood team at SBC to try and stop flooding from happening again.

“There has been no consultation with us about putting the floodgate up, blocking our right of way from Tweed Green to Tweed Avenue. I have a duty of care for 30 residents to look after them.”

We asked him to elaborate how preventing the flood barrier’s use would help his residents, but he declined to comment further.

Residents and staff from the nursing home were evacuated at the turn of 2016 when Storm Frank brought widespread flooding to the town.

In November of that year, plans to reinstate and increase the height of boundary walls surrounding the property, install new flood gates and demolish flood-damaged extensions on the ground floor were unanimously agreed by Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee.

The boundary wall was lowered by previous owners who added a conservatory to the home.

Councillor Kris Chapman (Lib Dem) said: “Myself and Councillor [Heather] Anderson are working with SBC officers, and the council will take all, and necessary action to prevent flooding and protect our residents across and around Tweed Green.

“We are also working with the residential home to look at alternative barriers and prevent flooding in Tweed Avenue and nearby Walkers Haugh.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with the nursing home to try to resolve this issue.”