Work could start on new Kelso High as soon as this summer

A visualisation of the new Kelso High School
A visualisation of the new Kelso High School

There is now renewed confidence that construction work on the replacement Kelso High School will get the green light very shortly.

Speaking at this week’s Kelso Community Council meeting, the town’s three local Scottish Borders councillors – Alec Nicol, Tom Weatherston and Simon Mountford – told members that following a private briefing from local authority officials on the issue, they were confident progress would be seen soon.

It was earlier this year that the start of construction work on the town’s new £21.4million secondary at Angraflat Road had to be delayed after a European ruling that affected a number of new building projects across Scotland.

The law change affected schemes being processed under the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) scheme. These were previously being treated as private sector projects, but the European rule change means these must now be considered as public sector.

The Scottish Futures Trust and the Scottish Government have been working ever since to find a solution.

There has been growing frustration in Kelso over the delays to the project, which will see the existing 1930s high school replaced.

Mr Mountford commented: “We’ve been told that a public resolution of the situation is expected within the next few weeks, before the end of the summer term.

“The hope is that the work can begin on site over the summer, but I’d better emphasise the use of the word ‘hope’ as no firm dates have been given yet.”

Mr Nicol said Scottish Government officials were still trying to sort out what he called “grey areas”, but added: “Everybody from council staff to contractors are sitting ready to push the button as soon as this is sorted.”

And Mr Weatherston told The Southern yesterday: “After hearing the officer in charge of the project go through the detail of the high school paper at the executive meeting [SBC] and explaining how the government intends to move several projects in Scotland forward, including Kelso High School, I left the meeting confident we will see progress very soon.”