Racecourse in late objection to new high school

The new Kelso High School design
The new Kelso High School design

Final plans for the new Kelso High School are expected to be approved by councillors on Monday, despite concerns expressed by the local authority’s departments.

Agents working for Kelso Racecourse also lodged a “holding objection” to the scheme this Monday.

Site of the new Kelso High School near the entrance to Kelso Racecourse on the Angraflat Road.

Site of the new Kelso High School near the entrance to Kelso Racecourse on the Angraflat Road.

In a letter to the council’s planning department, Alex Sneddon of Transport Planning Ltd, said: “We act for Kelso Racecourse and are presently reviewing traffic and transport matters related to the proposed development of the new Kelso High School. We are presently exploring several issues with our clients related to the proposed application and we therefore submit this formal holding objection. We will be in touch again once we have concluded our review.”

The scheme has been recommended for approval by planning officer Barry Fotheringham. Concerns relate to lack of anything in the plans promoting “sustainable transport” and boundary planting.

Jim Knight, a landscape architect for the council, has called for more “woodland” planting along the north-west boundary of the site and a redesign of the grounds to the south-east, including moving car parking and the removal of an existing hedge, which he argues if left would create a “physical barrier and screen”.

Mr Knight states in his report: “This is a significant new public building and should address the town effectively, in terms of its setting, rather than being hidden behind a rather tatty hedge.”

In addition, Derek Inglis of the council’s roads planning services, commented: “With regards to the Transport Assessment, it is disappointing that the report has not identified any off-site works to promote sustainable transport.

“Advisory cycle lanes along Angraflat Road and a part-time 20mph scheme in the vicinity of the school should be incorporated into the design.”

As a result of their concerns, Mr Fortheringham has said “suitably worded planning conditions” can adequately deal with these matters.