Rethink in Kelso skate park row

LOCAL authority officials and Kelso councillors are to meet to discuss the row that has erupted over a giant soundproofed hoarding erected in the town’s Shedden Park to deal with the noise created by youngsters using a skateboard facility.

Last week TheSouthern revealed the level of anger the installation of the ‘deflector’ had caused among residents of Kerfield Court retirement flats, which overlooks the park.

Twenty-five of the residents gathered last Tuesday in the dining room of the complex, just off Dryinghouse Lane, to vent their fury over the deflector, which was erected at a cost of £3,000, and the fact nobody had consulted them for their views.

Residents also believed that there had been as few as two compliants from the owners of neighbouring properties over the noise from youngsters –something the flat owners in Kerfield Court said had never bothered them.

The residents were also worried the skateboarding youngsters might view them as the source of the complaints which got the deflector put up.

After enquiries by TheSouthern, Scottish Borders Council confirmed the deflector had not required planning consent as it was less than four metres in height.

Speaking last week on the issue, local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston (Con) said the local authority had received a “number of complaints” from nearby residents of other properties about the levels of noise during the summer, sometimes after 10pm. Mr Weatherston said various remedial solutions were explored and the deflector had been deemed the best option.

However, he admitted that, with hindsight, it would have been helpful if the Kerfield Court residents had been notified of the plans.

Even the town’s community council, which is in recess for the summer break, appeared unaware of the deflector scheme, with vice-chairman John Bassett describing it as “an eyesore”.

But this week, Mr Weatherson revealed that, following a large number of letters and emails on the issue, it had been agreed to call a meeting.

“A meeting has been arranged with officers and elected members to discuss this issue and try and find a way forward,” he explained.

“We will take on board the concerns of the Kerfield Court residents and a few from Sutherland Gardens [properties adjacent to Kerfield Court] who are unhappy with what was installed, and concede there was a lack of communication with residents of this issue and lessons have been learnt.”

Kelso community councillor Colin McGrath says he has asked for the issue of the deflector to be placed on the agenda of the next community council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, September 11.

z Meanwhile, plans are well in hand for a special fun day in aid of the Lauder BMX Skateboard Group project. The event will be staged on September 23 at Lauder Moor and will include three live bands and BMX demonstrations, with the aim of raising funds towards the cost of the proposed new skatepark facility in the town.