Council calls for respect as debate rages over the location of £55m Galashiels community campus

Children expressing online support for building the new £55m Galashiels community campus on part of the town’s Scott Park have been subject to “inappropriate personal criticism”, according to a council report.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:08 am
Scott Park. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Members of Scottish Borders Council will receive an update on Thursday, May 13, over the results of an informal community consultation on five potential location options for the new campus.

The results revealed a clear preference between option 1, to construct the campus at the rear of the existing academy, and option 3, the preferred council solution, to build in front of the existing academy and on a portion of Scott Park.

In his report to the committee, Steven Renwick, the council’s project manager, urged contributors to the campus debate to remain respectful.

And he believes there is a “silent majority” supportive of the council’s proposed option to build on part of the park – while also acknowledging that proposed solution was strongly opposed by some on the grounds of the loss of green space.

He says: “There is a small but passionate group in the community who have opposed the council’s preferred option as set out in the community consultation.

"The group has been vocal in its opposition to the project. The council is confident however that there is widespread support amongst the school community and wider silent majority for the project.

"There have unfortunately been cases where those who have publicly voiced support for option 3 and contributors to the website – including schoolchildren – have been subject to unnecessary and inappropriate personal criticism.

"This is deeply regretted and as we move forward with the statutory consultation phase of the project we would ask all people, both those in favour of the council’s proposals and those against, to remain respectful of others’ views and their right to express them in a free democratic society. To act otherwise is simply a form of unacceptable bullying on social media.”