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100 year old cafe faces demolition

The beach cafe at Coldingham Bay Credit: Robert Fairburn

A cafe that has served an award-winning beach for almost a century is set to be pulled down because of a financial dispute.William Harrison, who has owned the building at Coldingham Bay in Berwickshire for the past 16 years, has been served with an eviction notice by Scottish Borders Council.

He claims to have ploughed £30,000 into the business but the local authority say he has been paying under the odds in rent and has refused to meet their required £1,300 per year.When Mr Harrison took up the lease at Coldingham the rent was set at £525 per annum in 1996.

He agreed to an increase to £550 per annum in 1998 and has refused to accept any rental increrases since then. The council said that in January Mr Harrison offered to pay an increase of £50 per annum to £600 which the council refused.

Now they have issued the eviction notice and told him he has to cease trading by September 30 and dismantle the building.

Coldingham is one of only eight beaches in Scotland to currently have coveted Blue Flag Status.

Walter Powner, who operates the day to day running of the beach cafe, said:

"The building's been here for the best part of 100 years. It's part and parcel of people's experience here and that's before you consider how much Mr Harrison has spent on it, drastically improving the interior."

"We are blessed with a lovely beach here but the cafe itself is a big draw for the people."When it's sunny there's people wandering in and out all the time and when it is raining it's packed with people sheltering from the weather."

Three part time members are set to lose their jobs over the move.A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council said as they were unable to agree a realistic market rental figurefor the site they had taken action to terminate Mr Harrison's lease.

He added:"The council is currently investigating alternative ways of providing continuity in the seasonal catering operation at Coldingham Bay for next season in 2013 but no xdecisions have yet been made."

Fresh drugs swoop in Borders

Another seven people have been arrested in the biggest anti-drugs campaign in the Borders for more than 5 years.

It brings the total number of arrests to 38, with quantities of heroin and other drugs being seized from properties.

Police have raided homes in Earlston, Hawick and Galashiels in the last week.

The campaign, named Operation Goal, is aimed at targeting street level drug dealers.



Riders on patrol

It's a tradition unique to the scottish borders and the common riding season has wound it's way round to Duns and Annan today. No english invaders were spotted on the ritual patrolling of either town's boundaries this morning, so the festivities could get underway in earnest.

The ridings are a festival of civic pride dating back hundreds of years to the times of the reivers. These days the common riding is a chance to celebrate with friends.

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