COUNCIL cash has helped restore an historic building in Kelso which was described as a “blight on the town”, writes Mark Entwistle.
Scottish Borders Council has completed a £180,000 project revamp of the keeper’s lodge at Shedden Park.
The category B-listed building has been on Scottish Natural Hertige’s “buildings at risk” register for a number of years.
The work was funded via SBC’s public conveniences capital programme and follows a public consultation undertaken by Future Kelso in 2009 in which the community expressed a wish to see the building saved and put to an alternative use.
As well as incorporating public toilets, there is an internal area available for use by the local sports clubs under the banner of SportKelso.
The keeper’s lodge work is part of the first phase of general park improvements, with news due to be announced soon about a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Your Heritage’ application for further restoration work to the listed archway and some landscape improvements at the park – coupled with significant investment in the play and skating facilities.
The second stage will cost an estimated £100,000 and further improvements are hoped to be developed, with more community involvement in the future.
After handing over the key, Kelso councillor and SBC deputy leader Alec Nicol told us: “The keeper’s lodge has been in a dreadfully dilapidated state for many years and was a blight on the town.
“Now we have modern toilets and a changing room in this busy park, right next to the children’s play area. This is a really important facility for this end of the town.”