Consultation event to be held on Eildon extra care housing plans in Kelso

The former Kelso High School

Members of the public have the opportunity to view plans for the old Kelso High School site this month.

A pre-application consultation event will be held on Thursday 22 November from 12 noon to 8pm at the former school by local building firm M & J Ballantyne, which is in the process of purchasing the site and propose to retain the original building and refurbish it to provide extra care housing for Eildon Housing Association.

M & J Ballantyne’s plans also include new build private housing on the remainder of the site.

The building was vacated in October 2017 following the opening of the new high school in November 2017, with the site then marketed for sale in February 2018.

Councillors agreed to accept an offer from M & J Ballantyne following a private report to the Executive Committee in October 2018.

The original school building was created in 1936 and is B-listed but the plans would see the redevelopment of this section of the site, which is encouraged by Historic Environment Scotland. The scale of the proposed development requires pre-application consultation to be held.

The extra care housing development in the proposal is part of a ten-year vision for the delivery of housing, care and support for older people in the Scottish Borders which has been developed by Scottish Borders Council and partners.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “I am delighted that a sale is being progressed for this important Kelso town centre site with a local building firm with a reputation for creating high quality developments.

“If the planning application is approved, it will provide a host of benefits to the local community.

“It will provide extra care and private housing for local people, bring a currently disused site back into use, while also retaining an important listed building.

“The proposal would also support local jobs and provide SBC with a significant sale fee which can be put towards the Council’s capital programme for the Borders.

“I would encourage local people to come along to this consultation event on 22 November to find out more and share your views on the proposals.”

Michael Ballantyne, managing director of M & J Ballantyne, added: “We are excited with the prospect of being involved in the retention and transformation of the former Kelso High School.

“Our proposals would provide extra care and private housing which will not only safeguard many construction jobs but will also have a wider economic benefit.”

John Duncan, director of property assets at Eildon Housing, said: “Eildon is pleased to be one of the partners in this project which would bring the former Kelso High School site back into productive use by providing more extra care housing.

“This is another key project in our programme which will deliver 750 much needed new homes across the Scottish Borders by 2021.”

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