Plans to convert old Kelso high school into housing being recommended for approval

Planners are being advised to give the green light for the conversion and partial demolition of a former Borders secondary school.

By Paul Kelly
Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 4:13 pm
Kelso's old Bowmont Street high school.
Kelso's old Bowmont Street high school.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee is being recommended to approve proposals for the old Kelso high school to be converted into 34 flats for the elderly and 47 affordable homes.

The school, in Bowmont Street, was closed two years ago after students moved to a £22m replacement in Angraflat Road.

The art deco building dates back to the 1930s, and approval for its conversion is being recommended only on condition that its main elevation and towers are retained.

In a report to the committee’s meeting on Monday, December 9, principal planning officer Craig Miller says: “All elements of the building identified in the conservation statement as being of significance are retained, especially the main core building and iconic front facade.

“The demolitions relate to the later elements of the school complex, including the games hall, teaching blocks, assembly hall and music room extensions.

“The proposals are an appropriate and sensitive development in accordance with the redevelopment allocation in the council’s local development plan and involve the retention and restoration of the original listed building within the site whilst providing much needed extra-care accommodation.

“The proposals also represent sympathetic new development within the grounds of the listed building, respecting both the setting of the building and the amenity of surrounding residential properties.”

The main school building dates back to 1939, with a major extension having been added in the 1960s and further extensions and additions in later years, including a canteen, teaching block, assembly hall, music department and all-weather sports pitch.

The applicant is Kelso-based builder M and J Ballantyne, working in collaboration with Selkirk-based Eildon Housing Association.