Lauder’s wheelie keen

Proposed Lauder BMX track. From left, Matthew Page, Sam Derrick, B J Gunn-Grieve, Ryan Prentice, Jacob Fawcett and James Peace.
Proposed Lauder BMX track. From left, Matthew Page, Sam Derrick, B J Gunn-Grieve, Ryan Prentice, Jacob Fawcett and James Peace.

A growing group of nearly 80 children and adults in Lauder are campaigning to build a BMX and skate track to keep the town’s teenagers active and out of trouble – and they’re appealing for comments to gauge local support.

The group’s spokesperson, local resident Judi Gunn, said: “Lauder is the first town over the Midlothian border and now has a great play park for our youngsters and holiday makers, but there is nothing for teenagers.

“The children of Lauder are trying hard to encourage our community to welcome a park for ‘older children’ and adults – somewhere where they can be positively occupied instead of potentially loitering around the streets causing a little bit of havoc.

“There is a great lack of things to do for teenagers,” she said. “Something like this would keep them out of mischief and teach them how to interact and help others.”

A new park could also foster positive traits such as staying active, teamwork and respect for the community, she explained, as well as exciting less upset and fewer complaints from the citizens of Lauder.

Councillors consulted by the group, including Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker, who represents Leaderdale and Melrose, highlighted two potential sites in Lauder’s Burnmill area.

“The children are very grateful and delighted that not only are the local councillors supporting this project, but also the Lauder Development Trust,” Ms Gunn said. “The police in Lauder are absolutely up for this too, which is awesome.

“But before this project is pushed forward, a list of people and positive and negative comments about the benefits of such a park are needed, to make a plan that is acceptable to all. So we would welcome all (adults/children/teenagers) thoughts, and if you have any additional queries add them to the list.

“The feedback has been tremendous,” she said.

Comments include: “Fantastic idea! Definitely somewhere needed for older kids and teenagers to go!”; “Great for all ages!”; and “Great idea, I would prefer somewhere like a skate park where kids can practice tricks etc. designed for them to use, rather than using streets and other park areas or car parks.”

So far in almost 80 responses recorded over the past two weeks, no one has disagreed with the project, Judi says.

“Any negative comments would be made in total confidence, and the children would not be advised of any names of individuals against such a project as this,” she added.

To contribute a comment, email judihoovesandpaws@btinternet.com for a sheet, and return it by July 15. A notice will then be put up on the board beside Lauder’s newsagent showing a date for a public meeting to discuss the next step.

Ms Gunn appealed for as many people as possible to send in comments and to attend the meeting: “Without comments this dream will probably not become a reality, so your input is essential for your own and the children of Lauder’s contentment.”