A BORDERS mansion has come under fire amid claims that large and rowdy groups have visited the property during the coronavirus pandemic.
Residents of The Loan, West Linton, say the Greenloaning Mansion has hosted large groups of guests since lockdown rules changed to allow hospitality businesses to reopen.
Neighbour John Thompson: “Everybody’s at the end of their tether.”
The owner of the mansion, Edinburgh businessman Michael Cameron, has refuted the allegations through his lawyer.
However, residents insist large, noisy gatherings have visited the mansion in recent weekends. Some residents fear COVID-19 could be spread through West Linton as a result.
The Scottish Government’s lockdown guidance states that indoor gatherings should be capped at eight people, from up to three households.
Mr Thompson said: “We’re [residents speaking up] representing the feelings of those living on the road.
“A couple are struggling with their mental health on this.”
Mr Thompson, who has children aged seven and nine, added that the activity at the mansion has affected his children too.
He said: “We were meant to be in Spain in July, but we couldn’t go, so I bought the kids a tent to put in the garden.
“But when we went to use it, the parties started.”
Mr Cameron did not wish to provide a statement when contacted by the Border Telegraph, but he pointed to comments sent by his solicitor to the Edinburgh Evening News.
That statement reads: “The complaints alleged are not accepted nor justified.
“Mr Cameron, in letting the property, has always and will continue to abide by the COVID-19 rules and principles for self-catering accommodation.”
Some self-catering accommodation was able to reopen on June 29, with more opening on July 3 and 15.
Duncan McKenzie, another of Greenloaning’s neighbours, says he has contacted local MSP Christine Grahame about the weekend visitors.
He said: “For the past four weekends there have been gatherings of up to 25 or 30.
“I have spoken to Christine Grahame MSP and she assures me that the police can and should break up the gatherings, take names and addresses for track and trace, if necessary, and fine people if appropriate.
“She plans to take this up with senior officers.”
Ms Grahame, of the SNP, who represents Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said: “There have been long-standing complaints from residents about the activities at Greenloaning Mansion and the disturbance caused in particular by the regular hen and stag parties renting the facilities, complete with jacuzzi.
“This has been exacerbated since reopening in July as large groups have rented the premises with additional concerns about the risk of importing COVID-19 to the village.
“A recent group of men attending a stag do came from London and I understand the police, who have attended the premises on many occasions because the men were so drunk, could not safely disperse them.
“So for the lawyer acting for Michael Cameron to claim that COVID-19 security measures were being observed beggars belief.
“The council and the police I know are working to resolve this ongoing problem which I hope is concluded soon and have promised to keep me informed.”
In response to claims that a multi-agency meeting between Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and Borders police will be held to discuss the issues raised by residents of The Loan, an SBC spokesperson said: “The council has been made aware of these concerns and is working with partners to seek to bring a resolution to the matter.”
The website for Greenloaning Mansion states: “This prestigious, award-winning mansion is set in over an acre of wooded garden in the delightful conservation village of West Linton.
“This is the perfect setting for large parties of up to 26 guests to enjoy the extensive amenities the mansion has to offer.”