No consultation on school plans until next year
Concerns have been raised that public consultation over the creation of a new £55m Galashiels Academy will not be launched until next year.
Restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have meant consultation on the proposed community campus earmarked for Scott Park has not yet been possible.
But that rang alarm bells for Rick Kenney, vice chair of Galashiels Community Council, who was speaking via a zoom meeting last week.
He said: “This is one of the biggest projects we have ever had in Galashiels. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new school but I am really concerned there is not going to be any consultation until the new year. My experience of buildings being put up is that the longer it takes for input from the public and staff it develops to a stage when it is said, ‘oh, well if that had been brought up earlier we could have looked at that’ or ‘we have already costed that and we can’t change it’. We need a consultation as soon as possible.”
Galashiels and district councillor Sandy Aitchison said: “The problem that we have now with consultation is covid, in that in the old days we would have put an exhibition up in the Volunteer Hall and went around various groups and did slide shows, which we can’t do in the same way nowadays.”
Community councillor Bill White encouraged the public to have their say when the consultation is launched, adding: “It is a campus not just a school and it is not just going to be open from eight o’clock in the morning to five at night, but from early in the morning to late at night. This is an opportunity to shape the future of Gala and we need the community to come forward to say what they want.”