Rescue team’s plans for new £300,000 base in Kelso given go-ahead

Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate in Kelso.
Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate in Kelso.

A life-saving rescue service’s search for a new home is over now planning approval has been granted for a £300,000 base at Kelso’s Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate.

The Border Search and Rescue Unit’s team of 26 volunteers currently works out of Kelso police station and a garage at the town’s racecourse housing its three vehicles.

However, so it can respond more quickly to emergencies, it has spent the last four years searching for an alternative base, discounting nine potential sites over that period.

Eventually, an application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council for a purpose-built steel portal-framed unit close to the Vermilion Dental Practice, and planning consent has now been granted.

A spokesperson for the unit said: “This purpose-built facility is in the right location and will allow us to respond quicker and more efficiently to any call-out, as well as hosting command and control of an appropriate incident.

“Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate provides the necessary space and location for a long-term, fit-for-purpose facility.”

The unit was formed in 1963 to provide mountain rescue cover in the south east of Scotland, and all its members are volunteers living locally.

The team is on call round the clock every day of the year, and last year members dealt with 19 incidents, taking up 677 hours of their time.

Fundraising to cover the cost of the building has started, with a grant of £35,000 from the council’s localities bid fund already secured.