Former doctor's surgery in Borders village wins approval to become an affordable home

A former village GP surgery which closed suddenly almost two years ago is to be converted into a family home.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 10th May 2021, 2:12 pm
The former Yetholm surgery.
The former Yetholm surgery.

Kelso Medical Group Practice only announced it was closing its Town Yetholm surgery by pinning a letter to the front door of the Deanfield Place building in September 2019.

Patients in Yetholm were left facing a 16-mile round trip to Kelso’s Inch Road health centre for GP appointments .

The closure, said to be due to a drop in demand, came just a decade after health bosses had last proposed shutting the Yetholm surgery.

Back in 2008, however, they were forced to think again by a public backlash led by the village’s community council.

But because of the sudden closure in 2019 the community council wasn’t given the chance to launch any such campaign to save the surgery as it was taken somewhat unawares.

Now the owners of the property, Selkirk-based Eildon Housing Association, has been given planning approval from Scottish Borders Council to convert it into a residential property.

In his report, Euan Calvert, the council’s assistant planning officer , says: “In 1993 the planning authority received an application for the erection of a doctor’s surgery by Eildon Housing Association. This a proposal to change the use of the building to a dwelling house.

"In terms of local service provision, the established land use as a GP surgery ceased in 2019.

"There were no objections or comments to the application which signifies my conclusions that this loss of service in the long-term has now unfortunately been accepted by the community.

"The appearance of the surgery is harmonious with the surrounding residential properties.”

At the time of the 2019 closure a spokesperson for NHS Borders said: “The decision on the need to close the Yetholm branch surgery was made by Kelso Medical Group Practice recognising the changing demand on the practice and relative activity in Yetholm and at the main health centre in Kelso.

“NHS Borders was notified of its intention to close in line with the practice’s contract with us and agreed with the proposal as an appropriate response to the overall needs of the practice population.”