Safety concerns raised over primary school plans

Artist's impression of the entrance to the proposed early learning centre at St Boswells primary school.
Artist's impression of the entrance to the proposed early learning centre at St Boswells primary school.

Concerns over a proposed extension to St Boswells Primary School have been raised over fears for the safety of schoolchildren.

St Boswells Community Council says it agrees in principle with plans to build the town’s first publicly-funded early learning centre, however, it has “unanimously expressed concerns that no thought has been given to the immediate infrastructure and subsequent safety risks”.

St Boswells Primary School.

St Boswells Primary School.

Scottish Borders Council unveiled the proposals at the start of last month which would see a 100sq m extension to the Greenside Park-based primary school to house the early learning centre and accommodate around 40 pupils.

The plans would also include installing solar panels on the existing school building, which the community council supports.

So far the proposals have received three objections from residents.

Allan Drummond, the community council’s secretary, wrote in a letter to Scottish Borders Council’s chief planning officer, Ian Aikman, that: “The vast majority of parents already dropping children off for school and collecting them in the afternoons causes problems in the adjacent roadways close to the designated drop-off area, and if additional traffic is generated, particularly involving very young children who cannot simply be left to make their own way into the school grounds, these problems will be exacerbated.

“The mornings are particularly difficult, as there are many local residents making their way to work at the same time as children are being dropped off for school.”

He added: “In addition, we are aware that the old lockup site at the corner of Springfield Terrace has been sold and been earmarked for housing development.

“In the event that this went ahead, this would further exacerbate the problems, the site being particularly close to the designated school drop-off point and, until barriers recently went up, was often used by parents to park off-street while taking children to the school gate.”

He also said that the issue of illegal parking causing blocked views for drivers around Springfield Terrace has been raised with police on numerous occasions.

Residents Ralph and Liz Parker, of Springfield Square, who support the early learning centre, also commented on the planning permission application regarding concerns about the design of the building stressing that school staff will have difficulties supervising the children due to corners and blind spots.

They also claim that: “Springfield Terrace, Jenny Moores Road and St Cuthberts Drive are the main access points to the school and the parking and speeding in issues in these roads are well known, causing concern to residents and parents of the school children.”

However, community inspector Carol Wood told us: “The safety of children going to and from school is a priority and we work closely with Scottish Borders Council in this respect.

“We have recently carried out road safety checks near St Boswells Primary School after a concern was raised by the community council.

“We are pleased to report that pupils were able to make their journeys safely and no parking or speeding issues were observed.”

Scottish Borders Council expects that the current number of children attending the school, built in 1957, will increase from 134 to 145 by the start of the next academic year.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “Any concerns expressed during the consultation phase of the planning application will be considered by officers, including our roads planning service, as is normal practice.

“The planning and building standards committee will consider the application in due course.”