Multi-million pound plans approved for redevelopment of Galashiels Academy in 'poor condition'

An artist impression shows how the £55 million development should look once finished. Credit: Local Democracy Reporting System

Plans for a multi-million pound campus to replace Galashiels Academy have been backed by councillors in the Scottish Borders.

A new £55m state-of-the-art community campus on the town's Scott Park was approved unanimously, despite concerns about the loss of local parkland.

Members of the Scottish Borders Council supported the proposals for the educational facility which will also have spaces that the community can use.

It comes as Tweedbank Councillor, David Parker, said: "The Galashiels building is in a very poor state of repair and lacks a significant number of facilities that should happen in a modern school."

Friends of Scott Park argued the plans would lead to the loss of a "treasured green space".

Scottish Borders Council has counter-argued that the plan will ultimately open up more parkland for use.

According to Mr Parker, great lengths have been made to mitigate any environmental impacts.

The team behind the development intend to give it "much better diversity of parkland, investing in its green space and creating a much more environmentally attractive feature" said Mr Parker.

Speaking on behalf of the Friends of Scott Park, John Campbell referred to the park's history and its importance to the town.

He said: "In 1938, Henry Scott, the Laird of the day, donated Scott Park to the people of Galashiels.

"Scott's vision was that the working man needed a break. Scott Park has been used extensively as a park and during the Covid pandemic it has been particularly appreciated and been used by families and children and sporting groups.

"It follows that the loss of the park, because there will be a loss, will have a serious adverse effect on the people of Galashiels."

Mr Campbell added that a new school could be built on the site, but believed the building should be located to the south of the existing one.

Work on the new two-storey school is expected to start next summer and aimed to be completed by 2025. Demolition of the existing school would then follow.

Councillors hope the new campus will encourage more people to attend Galashiels Academy rather than Earlston High School.

Despite initial planning approval, there could be delays as The Friends of Scott Park have asked the Scottish government to call in the plans to replace the existing academy.

It's a move which Scottish Borders Council leader and Galashiels Councillor, Euan Jardine, worries could delay the project by more than a year.

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