Planners say yes to Jed pool extension

PLANNERS gave the go-ahead to development at the threatened Jedburgh swimming pool this week, writes Sally Gillespie.

Jedburgh Leisure Facilities Trust (JLFT) is defending the Laidlaw Memorial pool in the face of a consultants’ report on the future of sporting facilities in the Borders which suggests closing it.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) councillors on Monday agreed to trust plans to build an extension for a seating area and children’s play area and install an access ramp and steps to the building.

The town’s community council said it welcomed the application and said the extension would be an excellent addition to the facility.

And in a report to councillors, principal planning officer Julie Hayward said: “The proposal is for a small-scale extension to the existing swimming pool in Jedburgh. It would enhance the existing facility and so benefit the town.”

JLFT’s George Burt, who deals with the finances of the pool and fitness centre, spoke at Tuesday night’s public meeting to save the similarly threatened Selkirk pool – and cited Monday’s planning green light as an example of the trust’s success. JLFT was formed seven years ago after SBC said it was going to close the pool and fitness centre in the town. At that time the facility was costing the council £220,000 a year to run; now the council gives the trust just £130,000 to run the centre.

And last year, in a bid to cut heating costs, the trust installed a £100,000 grant-aided biomass boiler at the facility.

Other planning decisions included SBC councillors approving plans by Barratt to use synthentic bricks instead of sandstone or whinstone within its development of 70 houses near Meigle Row, Clovenfords.

Councillors voted seven to two to allow the building of a house and fence at land next in Frankscroft, Peebles. Concerns of objectors were that there were could be more trees lost to make way for the building and that giving the go-ahead will set a precedent for more housing in the wood- land there.