Galashiels Academy row continues

Galashiels’ four councillors were asked last week to reconsider their stance on the plans for the proposed new Galashiels Community Campus.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 10:48 am
The supporters of the Save Scott Park movement have tied ribbons to the fence to show their dissent at the council's plans.

The call from Doctor Stuart Gordon came during last week's Galashiels Community Council meeting, held virtually on Teams.

All four elected members have latched on to Scottish Borders Council’s preferred option 3, which will see the new building take up a large part of the neighbouring Scott Park. It includes plans to build a new playpark at the site of the existing janitor’s house, which would be demolished in the plans.

The council claims this option would faciliate the building of the new campus, while the existing school remain operational.

The council has claimed it sees this as the only viable option, which has angered many townspeople, with more than 1,100 of them joining a “Save Scott Park” group on Facebook, and many more signing a petition online. A consultation is ongoing.

At the meeting, Dr Gordon said to the councillors: "Can I ask them to give some attention to consider and respond to alternative options that have been presented to them for the new Gala Academy/Community Campus, given that [the council’s] John Currie said last time that there was only one viable option. Clearly for a consultation we need more than one viable option, and given the limited time left … I suggest an extension to the consultation would be needed to properly achieve this.”

Councillor Harry Scott said: “It’s a shame the word viable was ever used, because it’s been taken out of context. What has happened is that the officers have put forward a preferred option and it’s been after a careful analysis.

"I appreciate that Dr Gordon has experience in this field. He has a point of view, which he is quite entitled to, but it doesn’t mean that he’s right.

“The consultation is there for everybody to put their views on the project, either for or against, and when the consultations have finished these views will be taken into account.”

The other councillors said they were happy to stick to their guns and await the outcome of the consultation.

The fight to save the park has grown considerably over the past few months, with supporters tying ribbons to the fence to show their love for the open green space, which they don’t want to lose.