THE controversial sound deflector installed last month at a cost of £3,000 in Kelso’s Shedden Park to reduce noise from its skate park is to be taken down.
Scottish Borders Council (SBC)issued a statement this week saying the structure would be removed and stored while a wider public consultation takes place.
Last month TheSouthern reported widespread anger among the residents of nearby Kerfield Court retirement flats, which overlook the park. Twenty-five of them signed a statement protesting at the erection of the deflector and the fact nobody had consulted them for their views.
The residents, who also wanted to make clear that they were not the source of complaints about noise from youngsters – they said they actually liked seeing the children enjoying themselves – also believed that there had been as few as two objections from owners of neighbouring properties over the noise.
After enquiries by TheSouthern, the local authority confirmed the deflector had not required planning permission as it was less than four metres in height.
Speaking last month, local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston told us various remedial solutions had been investigated, with the deflector appearing the best option. However, he did admit it would have been helpful if the Kerfield Court residents had been notified of the plans.
Following a large number of emails and letters on the issue, it was agreed to call a meeting on Monday between councillors and local authority officials.
And it was at the meeting that it was decided the deflector will be taken down and stored “while a fuller public engagement and evaluation exercise is undertaken”.
Jason Hedley, the council’s neighbourhood area manager, explained: “The noise deflector was originally installed as a response to complaints of noise nuisance arising from increased numbers of visitors to the park.
“The reports of excessive noise from the skate park are actually a direct result of the significant improvement to Shedden Park that Scottish Borders Council has made over the past few years. The improvements mean that many more people from the area are now using the facilities. However, we are now aware that the installation of the deflector has not been appreciated by everyone and has not adequately addressed the issue of noise.”
Further monitoring and evaluation of noise from the park will now be undertaken before SBC consults with the wider community to determine the extent of the problem and any reasonable action that may be required to remedy or reduce the problem.
Isobel Marshall, one of the residents of Kerfield Court who attended a meeting with TheSouthern when they vented their concerns about the deflector, said she was delighted to hear of the council’s decision to remove the structure.
“I’m sure everyone here will be very glad to hear that this thing is to be removed. We were very pleased with the way TheSouthern took up our case and investigated the matter.”
The issue of the noise deflector is expected to be on the agenda of the September meeting of Kelso Community Council, scheduled to be held on Tuesday in the town hall.