Reserves set aside to fight legal battle

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A TOTAL of £100,000 from Scottish Borders Council’s reserves has been set aside to fight a legal wrangle with the consortium who built three of the region’s newest secondary schools.

The dispute with Scottish Borders Education Partnership involves the installation of an electrical supply at Berwickshire High.

Headed by Northern Irish firm John Graham Ltd and the international construction company Bilfinger Berger, SBEP claim the council delayed providing wayleaves – giving permission for a power supply to cross land – or sub-leases to Scottish Power.

It says the wait caused its main contractor, Graham Construction Ltd, and a sub-contractor to lose money and as a result they have submitted a claim seeking compensation.

The ongoing row led on Tuesday to SBC’s executive committee approving the transfer of the six-figure sum from the local authority’s reserves to its legal department.

An SBC spokesman said: “The parties have been exchanging information on the merits of each of their respective cases.

“If no resolution is found, the claim may proceed to arbitration or other dispute resolution procedure as agreed by the parties.

“The council appointed advisors to review and defend the claim.”

SBEP was chosen by SBC as its preferred bidder in 2006 to finance, design and build Berwickshire, Earlston and Eyemouth high schools under a £60million Private Public Partnership (PPP).