Kelso school plans reveal sporting chance for town

Proposed sports facilities for the new Kelso High School.
Proposed sports facilities for the new Kelso High School.
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Latest plans for the new £18.6million Kelso High School show extensive sports facilities.

An architect’s sketch for the new secondary pencils in sprint and 400m tracks, grass rugby, 3G football and 2G hockey pitches, and a multi-use area.

MELROSE, UNITED KINGDOM. - 12  Apr 2012 : 'Conservative Party Media Launch'''(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, all rights reserved.)

MELROSE, UNITED KINGDOM. - 12 Apr 2012 : 'Conservative Party Media Launch'''(Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic )'(Copyright � 2012, all rights reserved.)

The drawing is part of a report Scottish Borders councillors were to have considered at Tuesday’s executive meeting, which was cancelled because of the weather.

Kelso SBC councillor Tom Weatherston (Con) said: “The sketch gives a rough idea of the plans. We’ve never seen that before.”

He added there would be “really good facilities” provided with the school, but that SPORTKelso hopes the community could benefit further and get a grant from sportscotland to boost provision.

Councillor Weatherston stressed that it was “hugely important” that there are good sports facilities at the school.

“Schools are becoming hubs of the community where the whole community comes together. If we manage to get good sports facilities on site, it will be a real focal point for everybody and it will be the first time Kelso has had this,” he said.

“We have been waiting a long time for this and it’s exciting that we are now going to get it. It’s great news for Kelso,” added the councillor.

The local authority got the go-ahead for the new high school last autumn, with the Scottish Government promising to bankroll two -thirds of the cost as long as SBC got construction under way within 18 months.

The preferred site is off Angraflat Road on the northern edge of the town. And plans by the architect – appointed in December – show the school next to the racecourse’s car parking fields.

In his report to councillors, school project manager Steven Renwick said: “Land negotiations have commenced with the owners of the land on which the school is intended to be constructed. Council officers have taken advice from the district valuer in terms of the value of the land.

“Monitoring of the negotiations will take place over the next three months. If sufficient progress is not made, it would be appropriate to seek a council resolution to use compulsory purchase powers.”

Meanwhile, at last week’s meeting of Kelso Community Council, when asked if there had been any further developments on what would happen to the current school building once the new one was built, Councillor Weatherston said: “I have been told that question is too premature and is further down the line.”

But Kelso provost Fiona Scott remarked: “As the provost of Kelso and chair of this community council,I don’t think it is premature at all to be asking that – and neither will a lot of other people in the town.”