Stanley Gryczka, retired butcher
I was Lauder Cornet in 1978 and naturally care passionately about our common good assets and what happens to them. I am angry about the way the ballot question has been framed and the explicit threat with the accompanying leaflet that if we don’t vote ‘yes’ for the public park site – which is our only public amenity – then we will lose the health centre and the funding. That is akin to blackmail and is an insult to residents who know that the health board has a legal obligation to provide suitable surgery facilities. NHS Borders and the council have clearly made up their minds on this site and have steamrollered it through, ignoring alternative sites, which do exist, and issues such as rights of way. My house in Manse Road overlooks the play park, yet I was not notified as a neighbour about the revised planning application: another example, in my view, of how the planning process appears to have been subverted to suit the chosen outcome. What is surely beyond dispute, however, is that as the proposal involves the disposal of common good land, the only people who should be allowed to vote are those living within the burgh.
Pat Fairbairn, dressmaker
I was born and bred in Lauder and believe that taking away this hugely important site from the town’s common good is awful. I also deeply resent being accused of standing in the way of progress by opposing its use as a health centre and, like everyone else, I recognise that improved medical facilities are vital. My main concern about the play park site, however, is the total inadequacy of Crofts Road, a narrow, one way street, where parking is already at a premium, in being able to cope with the traffic generated by the health centre. I am fearful, for instance, that the mobile breast screening clinic, which is basically a 40-foot lorry, will not be able to visit the new site. It has saved many lives over the years when it came to the Memorial Medical Centre which unfortunately closed last year. My own view is that these latter premises would be big enough to adapt for a new medical centre which could include other services, such as dentistry and paediatrics. Access from Croft Road onto the A68 at Edinburgh Road is already precarious and will only get worse if the NHS Borders proposal gets the go-ahead.
Derek Cross, retired
As a pensioner living in Manse Road, I am aghast that anyone could conceive a health centre with access from Croft Road which is narrow, one-way south to north, and used as a rat-run by many drivers, going at excessive speeds, to avoid the town centre. The proposed car park for the health centre, on the other side of Crofts Road, would be totally inadequate to deal with the volume of traffic such a facility would generate. Parking is already at a premium. My wife is disabled and we already find negotiating Croft Road difficult and dangerous and if the planners were to visit the site at around 5pm on weekdays, they would realise just how unsuitable it is, particularly for elderly people attending the new health centre. On Tuesday of last week at 2.20pm, a low loader vehicle with two pieces of heavy machinery on the back came along Crofts Road, but due to a guy working in the BT substation, the vehicle could not get past and the road was blocked for some time. Eventually, the driver talked the BT guy into shifting his van so both had to slowly reverse up Manse Road. Heaven knows how the health centre will deal with an emergency in these circumstances.
Pat Gunn, housewife
Forget the common good...it is common sense that is required in the vote about the health centre going to Croft Roads. I have lived her for 22 years and have found the doctors in the village to be magnificent, particularly in their care of my late husband. But they are now struggling in a building [the former nurse’s house in Factors Park] which is simply no longer fit for purpose. Lauder has changed considerably since I arrived and it has grown. Why else would we have a magnificent new primary school? I feel the objectors to the Crofts Road site have hi-jacked the debate which should be about giving the town, which has a large number of elderly people and children, a building in which medical staff can deliver the best possible service. The money is there, the need is not in dispute, so why don’t we get on with the job? We cannot divorce ourselves from the economic realities: we all know public money is tight and it would be a crying shame if this project is voted down. I have faith in the people of the town and those in outlying settlements who use our surgery to make the right decision.
Helen Morton, retired
I live in Blainslie which is about two miles from Lauder and, as a patient registered with the surgery in Lauder, completely reject the POGS group view that residents outwith the village should be denied a vote. All the patients in the surgery, including those in Oxton and Earlston, should have a say about whether we get a new health centre or, if the opponents have their way, we don’t, which could in future mean we all have to travel to Stow for treatment. As far as the arguments about choice of site on common good land are concerned, all I would say is that they are academic and pale into insignifance compared to the overarching need for improved healthcare facilities. We could talk about history all day, but we are where we are. The site has been chosen to the satisfaction of the health service and our council and, while I respect dissent, the key aim must surely be the quick delivery of a medical facility which is fit for purpose. With regard to traffic problems in Crofts Road, all I can say is that they will be no worse than when the route was heavily used to get to the old school.
John Manson, retired
My wife and I came to live in Lauder in 1978 and we have remained here because it is, quite simply, a lovely place to live with lovely friendly people. It therefore pains me greatly that the town has been divided over this issue. I have known many of the objectors on the POGS group for many years and they are really nice people. I want a “yes” vote in the ballot so that all the unpleasantness surrounding the debate, which must give a very negative impression of the town to outsiders, can be put behind us. I am a realist and I daresay that some of decisions regarding how the Crofts Road site was selected may be questionable, but, at the age of 88, I am no stranger to the current surgery. On the last two occasions I have visited, it has been standing room only and very uncomfortable for patients simply because of the lack of space. I pity the doctors and staff having to work in these conditions and that, for me, is the main reason I will be voting “yes” in the ballot. If the project is delayed or ditched, that is not the legacy I want for the young people of Lauder.