Pitch battle over ground

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A dispute erupted at Monday’s community council meeting, about an access track to Selkirk High School’s new pitch encroaching on common good land.

Next to Pringle Park, Selkirk High School is set to build an £800,000 synthetic pitch on the middle grass field, fenced and floodlit for pupils to play hockey and football in all weathers.

The council argues its new pitch needs a road for equipment and ambulances to access it, and proposes a 3m widening of the path running down Pringle Park, which is land owned by Selkirk’s Common Good Fund.

“They haven’t proved they can’t put that access track within the school ground,” Community Councillor Ian King told us after last Monday’s meeting.

“They think they’ll protect the line of trees, but there’s a good chance one of them will go,” he said.

“It seems an unnecessary shame.

“It struck me as the thin edge of the wedge. I think it’s wrong if the council run roughshod over the community, and assume it doesn’t matter. I don’t like bureaucracy over-riding the community, and putting the environment at risk.”

At the meeting, Scottish Borders Councillor Vicky Davidson defended the council’s proposal: “The track should go on common good land: it saves us encroaching on the top grass pitch.

“We’re suggesting the path is widened and tarmacked: it’s not a road. There’s only one tree it could impact on, and we’re going to make sure nothing happens to it unless it’s necessary.”

“If we can get it through planning without any hitches, we could get building it this summer – I don’t want the children to miss another season.”

Selkirk’s Common Good Fund will decide the matter in June.

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