£28,000 Yarrow school kitchen fails to power up

THE kitchen installed over the summer in Yarrow Primary School at a cost of £28,000 to avoid hot meals having to be cooked nine miles away in Selkirk’s Knowepark Primary, cannot be fully used because the premises have the wrong kind of electricity meter.

Earlier in the summer, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) approved the cash for new kitchen facilities at the school, and £16,000 for similarly improved kitchen facilities at Kirkhope Primary School, £26,000 for Eccles Primary and £40,000 for a primary school dishwasher programme.

The cash meant the schools would be able to prepare food on site rather than having it produced elsewhere and ferried by taxi for over an hour before it is eaten.

Councillors were told that on-site production would not only improve the quality, temperature and taste of the food, but also save about £30,000 a year in taxi fares.

However, TheSouthern learned this week that the new kitchen at Yarrow Primary cannot be used fully because it lacks a suitable meter.

An SBC spokesperson said: “The recently upgraded kitchen is unable to be fully used at present due to the new kitchen equipment requiring a three-phase electricity meter to be installed, not due to insufficient power at the school.

“These works require both our utility provider and the district network operator working together, which is causing some programming issues due to engineer availability. We hope to have this issue resolved in the very near future.”

Scottish Borders councillor Gordon Edgar (Selkirkshire, Ind), an electrician, says the subject of which type of supply would be needed should have been ascertained right at the start.

“Obviously, whoever was responsible did not do their homework. This could take several months to rectify because the electricity board does not just jump when you snap your fingers,” he said. “It could cost several thousand pounds as well if it is a big three-phase supply.”

Mr Edgar warned: “I don’t know who will have to pay for that, whether it would be the contractor or the council, but if it’s the council, there’s no money in the budget for it. We’ll have to see what happens.”