European cash helps council spend more than a penny on Kelso town centre improvements

COUNCIL staff are currently investigating the possible existence of cellars beneath the town centre public toilets in Kelso.

The preliminary work is part of a European-funded project which will see the toilets demolished to make way for a new building which will restore the three-story streetscape at this point.

The building will incoporate public toilets on the ground floor, with two floors of available office space above. Two replacement bus shelters are part of the final design, and the vennel which runs between Horsemarket and Woodmarket will be covered over.

Local Scottish Borders councillor Alec Nicol is unsure when work will actually commence, but says once finished the project will give a major lift to the middle of the town.

“The present public toilets are hardly a thing of beauty, so this scheme will see that situation improved with modern toilet facilities for gents and ladies, as well as a disabled toilet installed,” he told TheSouthern.

“The top two storeys will provide office space, which will be a real asset to the town, along with new bus shelters. But this wouldn’t have been possible without the European funding.

“It means what is, in effect, a gap site in the middle of the town will see it restored to the traditional three-storey height similar to the other buildings.

“There is the possibility of large cellars underneath this site though, so council staff are currently investigating that at the moment. Also, the final design of the public toilets will have to be approved by the three Scottish Borders councillors for Kelso.”

It was Mr Nicol’s fellow Kelso local authority councillor, Alasdair Hutton, who signed off the approval for the work last autumn and the total cost of the project is believed to be around £300,000.

Mr Hutton commented: “We have been working away at this for a long time and we are nearing the end of the planning process.”