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Thu March 21 2019

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Borders budget allocates funds for new schools

22 Feb The proposed budget from Scottish Borders Council allocates millions of pounds for new schools and road upgrades across the area.

There will be a new Earlston Primary
There will be a new Earlston Primary

The plan for investments in new and improved schools includes £16m for the replacement of Eyemouth Primary School and £9m for a new Earlston Primary School.

There will also be funding towards a new Galashiels Academy and to accelerate a new Hawick High School.

Councillor Carol Hamilton said: “Following significant work behind the scenes, and consultation with the communities, it is clear that Eyemouth and Earlston primaries are at the top of the priority list for replacement and we will deliver on that. Galashiels Academy was identified as the most immediate priority in our secondary school estate and we’ve identified £3m to enable that to be progressed through a revenue-funded model, like that at the new Kelso High.

“This Administration has also been able to allocate £20m match funding for a capital funded model to deliver a new Hawick High School faster than initially thought, providing the necessary additional funding is made available by the Scottish Government.”

She added: “The programme of secondary school replacements has been identified and we’re committing the necessary money to ensure this programme is progressed, and in Hawick’s case accelerated. By the end of this Administration we also hope to be able to identify the timeline for the replacement of Selkirk and Peebles high schools too.”

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Other measures in the budget include an extra £2.3m to spent on roads and pavements and plans for an £86m investment in road and transport infrastructure over 10 years. Executive member for roads and infrastructure Gordon Edgar said: “We recognise the importance of our road network to everyone in the Scottish Borders, and to the tourism economy, and that’s why we’ve committed extra funding over the next four years. “That is on top of an overall budget that is being maintained and runs to over £80m over the next 10 years.”

An additional £3m will be invested in new extra-care housing for projects in Hawick, Kelso, Eyemouth and Peebles in addition to those already committed to at Todlaw, Duns and Langhaugh, Galashiels.

The five-year revenue budget and 10-year capital plans will be set at a meeting of the full council on Thursday 28 February.

Council leader Shona Haslam said: “Despite being faced with significant financial challenges, this Administration is presenting a really exciting budget for the Borders, packed with huge investment plans at a truly vital time for our economy.”

Depute Leader Sandy Aitchison added that the budget also provides the funding for major projects that will protect towns from flooding, regenerate high streets, create new jobs and increase the number of tourists coming to the Borders as well as attracting people to come and live and work there.

MPU

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