Councillor blasts information leak

Broomlands Primary School in Kelso.
Broomlands Primary School in Kelso.

A councillor has complained about not being briefed before news of a replacement primary school for Kelso was made public.

The Southern broke the news last month that Scottish Borders Council could soon be in a position to fund a replacement for the town’s ageing Broomlands Primary School.

Originally, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) was paying two-thirds of the overall cost of the town’s new secondary school , with one third coming from the coffers of Scottish Borders Council.

But unexpected windfall cash from the Westminster government, means the Scottish Government can fully fund the new high school.

The result is that the one-third of the money earmarked for the project from SBC [£4.9million] could be spent on a new primary for Kelso.

The issue was discussed in public at a meeting of Kelso Community Council, where it was welcomed.

But not everyone elsewhere was as happy, at least with the way the issue was made public.

At last week’s Scottish Borders Council meeting, Councillor George Turnbull (Hawick, Con) wanted an assurance that in future such announcements were not made public until councillors were fully briefed.

Councillor leader David Parker, however, responded that he could not give such an assurance.

He said: “While the council strives to ensure that elected members are briefed at all times on matters to do with council business, there will be occasions when announcements are made by others that are out with our control.

“It is also the case that information can, on occasion, unexpectedly come into the public domain and it is difficult to control that type of announcement.”

But Councillor Turnbull said he was not satisfied with that answer and called it totally inappropriate, adding that protocols needed to be tightened.

But whether information leaked out prematurely or not, it was still welcomed in Kelso.

Local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston told us: “The standard of education at Broomlands has always been very high, but is always compromised by a very poor building design with an open space plan.

“I sincerely hope the bid is successful as the staff and pupils have waited a long time in the queue, so let’s hope their patience pays off.”

However, the Scottish Futures Trust [Scottish Government agency] has to agree to the proposal and SBC sanction the allocation of the necessary financial resources.

But Mr Weatherston’s fellow Kelso councillor, Alec Nicol, is optimistic. Hetold us: “I hope this will be achieved before the end of the year.”