Bad report for a new school bid

Building a new £55m school in a much-loved Galashiels park would be the equivalent of putting the town’s Tesco supermarket on the green site, an opponent of the plan has warned.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 2:01 pm
Scott Park in Galashiels.

Civil engineer Stuart Gordon expressed his strong opposition to the new Galashiels Academy being built at Scott Park when addressing a zoom meeting of the town’s community council last night.

Mr Gordon, who lives in Scott Crescent, near the exisiting school site in Elm Row, said: “We are fully supportive of having a new campus across there. I look out my window and I can see the school. However, I strongly object to building in Scott Park. I strongly oppose the development of the preferred option the council has put forward.

“What we have to get into perspective is the size of the school - it’s one hectare and Scott Park is 3.9 hectares. One hectare is the size of Galashiels Tesco. If Tesco came along and said they wanted to put Galashiels Tesco in the middle of Scott Park I think there would be a revolution.

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“The council is promoting this as the preferred option. Eighteen bore holes were done as part of the site investigation and as an experienced civil engineer I know you don’t do 25 grand worth of work if you are not intending to build there.”

Mr Gordon expressed concern at the loss of a key green space.

The park has been used for a variety of activities over the last 80-plus years, including cross country, aerobics, dog walking, and in the more distant past, as a putting green and for trampolining.

The council has chosen Scott Park as its preferred option over the alternative of building on the existing school site or at the Netherdale sports complex.

Mr Gordon added: “We’re spending £55m here on a new campus and I don’t see much objectivity. There should be a robust options appraisal carried out on this to be absolutely certain that we have to build in Scott Park and that the other options won’t work to establish that we have to build on a key green space.

“The existing school site is 7.1 hectares. Tesco is a hectare, so you could fit seven Tescos on the existing school site. It takes a lot of imagination to think you couldn’t fit a new campus on that site.”

Community council member Rick Kenney said: “You do wonder how much consultation or thought is to be given to the other options once you start spending money on drilling boreholes. The case that Stuart is making for looking at it in a lot more detail is valid.”