Shipping containers sports plan

A DECISION will be made on Monday on proposals to replace Leithen Vale Sports Club’s deteriorating wooden premises in Innerleithen’s Hall Street, with three blue-painted shipping containers.

The existing portable building, which is to be demolished by the council, is a brown-painted timber construction with a felt roof and is said to be in a poor condition and getting worse.

It sits in an area of mixed domestic and community buildings on the south-western fringes of Victoria Park and immediately outwith the town’s conservation area.

The club wants to flatten the building and replace it with three standard metal shipping containers arranged in a U-shape, with the open side facing into Victoria Park.

Two of the containers will be used for changing and the third for storage. They will be painted dark blue.

The application is scheduled to come before Monday’s meeting of the local authority’s planning and building standards committee as the application site is owned by Scottish Borders Council and a simple delegated decision by the appointed officer is therefore not possible under the 2009 Development Management Regulations.

Local Scottish Borders councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East, Con), says the demolition of the club premises will be welcomed by local residents.

“It will be a great relief to see the demolition of the existing building which is an eyesore and no longer fit for purpose and replaced on a temporary basis by three containers which will be adequate until a more permanent solution is found,” Mr Logan told us.

“The club and the Innerleithen Community Council should be congratulated for their efforts. This improved facility and the new drainage scheme funded by Scottish Borders Council on the football pitch should prove to be a great step forward for football in Innerleithen.”

George Brown is a former chairman of the club and is still heavily involved with its operation. He says the current building is on its last legs.

“The building’s more than 10 years old now and was badly damaged in the storms last January and it really is a terrible eyesore,” he told The Southern this week.

“We’re still having to use it for changing facilities and storage, but the long-term plan is to replace it with something bigger and better, still in Hall Street, which as well as being of benefit to local sports clubs, would help the community as there is very little in the way of community storage facilities in the town generally.

“Such a project would also help redevelop that part of Hall Street. But the shipping containers will be a useful measure, albeit just a temporary ‘sticking plaster’ of a solution for the time-being.

“We received some money from the Scottish Football Partnership to help us with the project.”

The sports club celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 and currently has a membership of just under 100 youngsters.

And Mr Brown says, while it is mainly football that is currently catered for, coaches of other sports will be made most welcome.

“We’re always delighted to hear from coaches of any other sports who would like to get involved. They would be made very welcome.”