TODAY (May 18) saw an unusual, yet historic, occasion for Scottish Borders Council (SBC) as it held its first virtual committee meeting since lockdown began.

A total of nine councillors participated in the meeting of the planning and building standards (PBS) committee, which gave approval for a house to be built in Newstead.

Chairman Tom Miers, a Conservative representative for Leaderdale and Melrose, said the meeting "went well given the circumstances".

Journalists were allowed to view proceedings, conducted through Microsoft Teams, after the council made a U-turn on its original decision to ban the press.

Mr Miers said: "It's not as good as meeting face to face. I would prefer to be able to have public input into the meetings, which is hard to do remotely.

"Also, it may be harder to have detailed technical discussion on matters of process in this medium at future meetings.

"We’ll see, and we’ll adapt as necessary to make it as good as possible.

"We were able to conduct a full discussion of the issues and we heard a range of views from different councillors. So the PBS committee fulfilled its remit properly."

Dreaded technical difficulties reared their head on several occasions, however – some councillors struggled with muting and un-muting their microphones.

After they backed an application to build a house, Mr Miers reminded elected members that feedback was welcome on how the meeting went.

As affairs drew to a close, conversation turned to facial hair grown since the last face-to-face meeting on March 2.

One officer said his new beard "won't be lasting long".

JS Crawford Farming Partnership has won permission to build a property on the corner of Main Street and Eddy Road.