Concerns raised at Newbattle hold-up

Latest artists impressions of Newbattle Centre
Latest artists impressions of Newbattle Centre

Councillors have heard that the hold-up to work on the new Newbattle High School could see pupils wait an extra eight months to move.

Council officer Garry Sheret last week provided an update regarding the effect of the recent EU directive on the funding of community hub projects such as Newbattle, which has meant all such schemes are on hold until further notice.

Work was due to begin this month on the £32 million project but is on hold until “at least the new financial year” in April, as the Scottish Government and the Scottish Future Trust (SFT)continues to work on a solution.

With the original completion date stated as Christmas 2016 work is now expected to be completed in April 2017, if the work gets underway in the next few months. Given that this would be exam time, it is expected that the pupils would not be moved until after the summer of that year.

Council leader Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “I have already had a number of discussions with people in the Scottish Government. They are certainly pushing hard for an outcome for this.

“They are hopeful of a solution by the start of the financial year. I have also written to John Swinney to say how keen we are to see this go forward.

“I would hope some of the construction time might be caught up. It’s unfortunate but I will accept the delay if it means we get what we want at the end of the day, and that is the main thing.”