Plans approved for £1.5m nursery building at Innerleithen school

How a planned new early-years centre at St Ronan's Primary School in Innerleithen will look.
How a planned new early-years centre at St Ronan's Primary School in Innerleithen will look.

Council planners have approved plans to extend St Ronan’s Primary School in Innerleithen. 

Scottish Borders Council’s education department wants to construct a single-storey extension at the St Ronan’s Road school to help meet demand generated by the Scottish Government’s increase in entitlement to free early-years learning and childcare provision. 

The new space, expected to cost around £1.5m, will cater for 95 children, with 15 spaces allocated to those aged two to three and 80 to those aged three to five.

The plans will also see the relocation of an existing play area, pumping station and water tank and fenced nursery garden. 

A design statement, submitted by the council’s in-house architecture team, reads: “Accessibility and inclusivity have been a key focus during the design development. 

“The provision will be universally accessible and will offer a high-quality learning environment for children and teaching staff. 

“The proposal has been developed to meet current and future teaching, with the primary focus being on teaching spaces that are flexible and adaptive to cater for a variety of needs and learning experiences.”

The plans sparked objections from seven nearby households, however, citing concerns over noise and increased traffic. 

Linda McCafferty, of Craig Terrace, writes in her objection: “The new build is going to restrict the view down the valley as we have at present. Has this been considered? 

“If so, where is sufficient parking going to be or will wacky races remain the status quo? It is a new build and this should be taken into account. 

“Due to the new build coming out towards the residents of Craig Terrace, this will now mean that, due to its proximity, we will overlook the new nursery, which also means that residents will lose their privacy.”

The proposals were given the thumbs-up at a meeting of the council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday, October 7.

A spokesperson for the objector had been scheduled to appear before the committee to give their point of view but failed to show up.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage told the chamber: “I fully support this.

“The Scottish Government’s extension of entitled hours has highlighted the need for extra buildings. 

“I think the design is innovative when compared to other buildings in the Borders, and I really support this.”

Other councillors were in unanimous agreement, and the application was granted without dissent.