PLANS to install a children’s playpark on contaminated land in Galashiels have sparked fears from the community.

Eildon Housing Association has submitted an application to build 69 homes just south of Coopersknowe Crescent.

But there have already been several public objections – with concerns raised over proposals to erect a play area on the site of a former sheep dipping pond.

John Birnie, who is chairman of the Coopersknowe Residents Association, asked: “Is it wise to move an under-fives play area onto contaminated land so that Eildon can get more space to build more houses?

“This land was a farmer’s and a sheep dipping pool was where they plan to put the play area. The farmer who owned that land knocked down the huge shed covering the dipping pool. The roof was constructed of corrugated asbestos and he just disposed of it by burying it under the ground.

“Also on that site are the septic tanks of the [nearby] cottages, which have been leaking into that site for at least ten years. It would be totally unwise to build an under-fives children’s play area on this piece of land.”

Mr Birnie said he had also written to environmental watchdog SEPA to voice his concerns.

He said: “We are really worried about what might be found when they [contractors] start digging down into the ground. It is simply not right that children could be put at risk. I have written to SEPA and have been in touch with local politicians about the plans.”

CEO of Selkirk-based Eildon Housing Association, Nile Istephan, said: “We have conducted all necessary site investigation works to ensure that the development proposals can be taken forward in a safe manner that meets the requirements of the statutory authorities.

“SEPA have seen all the proposals and have no objections to the playpark and its location.”

A spokesperson from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency added: “SEPA is aware of local concerns regarding contaminated land at the Eildon Housing development site. SEPA has been in contact with Eildon Housing and understand that the developers are fully aware of the site condition and have plans in place to manage this during the development of the site.

“We will ensure that any waste materials leaving the site are taken to an appropriately authorised facility for disposal or re-use.”