A GALASHIELS councillor says he will ask local authority chiefs to "mark out" their preferred location for the town's new school.

As previously reported, concerns have been raised over building the £55 million campus on green space in Scott Park.

But Sandy Aitchison (Ind) told a special meeting of Galashiels Community Council last week that he is looking at ways to make the consultation period as easy as possible for the public.

He said: "The consultation, which will begin in late January or early February, will show all five options and explain our reasons for selecting option three [building in front of the current site].

"This will predominantly be online, due to coronavirus restrictions.

"I have suggested we have a 'walk in and out' consultation at the Volunteer Hall and that is in discussion."

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Community councillor Bill White asked if the council could mark out lines in Scott Park to show the scale of the preferred option.

Mr Aitchison said the idea was a "perfectly sensible suggestion", adding: "I will be sending an email to make sure the campus is delineated so people can see them on Scott Park.

"I will also put out suggestions of how we can put the plans on show outside."

Over the last few months, the council's preferred option has divided opinion in the town.

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A petition with more than 700 signatures objecting to the proposed site was sent to the local authority by civil engineer Stuart Gordon.

He told last Wednesday's meeting: "It is important that people know what effect this development would have on Scott Park.

"I have taken the plans the council has developed and I’ve scaled them up the best I can and the development will be .93 hectares.

"It is 130 metres long and approximately 70 metres out from the existing school boundary wall."

However, some community councillors disagreed with Mr Gordon, with one saying she had even considered leaving the group.

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Liz Jardine said: "I think we need a school quickly.

"I have seriously considered giving up the community council because I find it dreadful the way folk go on – saying we cannot have this here and we cannot have that there.

"We need a school desperately and I think you should all get together and say let’s accept it and get it done."

Her view was also shared by secretary Tracey Alder, who added: "In my opinion we need the school.

"How many times a year is Scott Park used?

"We use it once a year for the Gala fancy dress. It’s not a massive issue.

"We need a school, wherever they want to put it."

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Mr Aitchison told members that the new building will be "more than just a school".

He said: "This will be a community campus for the whole town. It is not just a school.

"It will encompass numerous facets of Gala society."

Fellow councillor Euan Jardine (Cons) urged the group and members of the public to take part in the upcoming consultation.

He said: "Many people do not feed into consultations until it is too late.

"For example, only 69 people in the whole of the Borders have fed into our budget consultation so far; but you can be sure that when we put out the budget, there will be more than 69 people speaking out about it.

"We are here to serve the people, so make sure you feed into the consultation and make your points eloquently.

"We want to make a balanced decision."