Kelso could be set to get a replacement for its ageing Broomlands Primary School, local community councillors were told this week.
After Community Councillor Colin McGrath mentioned rumours of a replacement school at the town’s community council this week, local Scottish Borders councillor Alec Nicol explained there had been changes to funding of the town’s new high school.
Originally, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) was paying two-thirds of the overall cost, with one third coming from the coffers of Scottish Borders Council.
“But the Scottish Government has received windfall cash from the Westminster government, which means the Scottish Government can fully fund the new Kelso High School,” said Mr Nicol.
“This means that the one-third of the money that was going to come from SBC [£4.9million], which is still in the capital programme, can be spent on other schools.”
Mr Nicol added that Broomlands was at the top of the list of Borders schools which were in the poorest physical condition and also filled to capacity.
“It also has 10 classes of pupils being taught from nine class spaces,” he added.
Asked to comment, an SBC spokesman told us: “Money is set aside in our capital budget plan to make improvements to Broomlands. In addition, we have submitted a bid for funding to the Scottish Futures Trust, which could further enhance this project.”
However, Mr Nicol stressed that, as well as requiring SFT approval, any project to replace Broomlands would also need to be endorsed by the other 31 SBC councillors.
Community council vice-chairman, Dean Weatherson, wondered if, since the town’s other primary, Edenside, was also ageing, that a single large primary might be better. Scottish Borders councillor Simon Mountford replied there was a very short timetable to commit funds and paperwork for Broomlands could be taken ‘off the shelf’.
“If we had to prepare a major business case for a single primary school complex for Kelso, we’d still be doing it months from now and just wouldn’t have the money.”
Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston added: “This came totally out of the blue – Broomlands just ticks all the boxes.”