A CIVIL engineer believes building a new Gala Academy campus in Scott Park would be like “putting a Tesco” on the greenspace.

Stuart Gordon, who has been in the profession for 33 years, said he “strongly objects” to the £55 million development taking over the public area.

At a meeting of Galashiels Community Council last week, the Scott Crescent resident said: “We have seen a presentation showing the options for the new school.

“But it seems the council’s preferred one is building in Scott Park.

“Eighteen bore holes were done as part of the site investigation and as an experienced civil engineer, I know you don’t do that sort of work if you are not intending to build there.

“I am fully supportive of the town getting a new campus, but I strongly object to it being built on key greenspace.

“The school is one hectare and Scott Park is 3.9 hectares. One hectare is the size of Tesco. 

“If Tesco came along and said they wanted to put a supermarket in the middle of Scott Park, I think there would be a revolution.”

Mr Gordon said if work is to go ahead there, he is worried that the town would be unable to host large events in the future.

He said: “Each year, the fancy dress competition takes place in the park and we have also seen gatherings such as the independence march.

“These events would not be able to happen if the school is built in the park.

“We need to keep the park to retain civic presence.

“Yes, we all want a great school with the best campus, but do not ruin Gala in the process.”

Scottish Borders Council says a public consultation is set to take place ahead of a formal application being submitted.

A spokesperson said: “Since the community learning and secondary estate review report to council in November 2018 was approved, progress has continued with the design of the new Galashiels Community Campus on the site of the existing secondary school. 

“Balancing the requirement to provide a high standard replacement facility while keeping the existing school operational during its construction has needed careful planning and co-ordination. 
“The design solution is to extend into a section of Scott Park, which would see the development of a mitigation strategy to replace and enhance the town’s overall greenspace.

“The new building will be a community asset which will look to enhance the current provision of sport, leisure and community facilities in one central location in the town.

“A public consultation will begin later this year, which will provide the opportunity for the proposals to be presented and discussed with members of the community ahead of a formal planning application being submitted.”