A PEEBLES parent says the town’s high school is “being railroaded into a design that nobody feels is fit for purpose”.

The comment was one in a series of many complaints, sent to the Community Council of The Royal Burgh of Peebles and District (PCC), following a recent consultation exercise about the £50 million new build project.

Another resident, Tristan Compton, told PCC at its meeting last Thursday of concerns parents have about the school plans and the recent “poor” consultation event.

Mr Compton said: “The consultation event at the school about two weeks ago was poorly advertised.

“The consultation that has taken place so far has been an exercise in box ticking and that needs to change.”

PCC chairman Peter Maudsley said: “I understand about £350,000 was set aside for enhanced consultations.”

Mr Compton replied: “If that has been spent I’d like to see where the money has gone.”

The parent who wrote to PCC said: “It was a presentation – not a consultation.

“There was nowhere to record comments. My sister asked about this and was just told that the person she was speaking to would remember her comments.

“It wasn’t at all clear who anybody was.

“I think the project leader (Stephen Renwick) was wearing a council lanyard, but so too were teachers who were also there to view the plans.

“There was no way to identify the architects at all. The plans themselves were very unclear.

“There was nothing available online, as far as I can establish, so people who couldn’t go on Thursday have no opportunity to view the plans or comment.

“I think the council only advertised the event just over a week beforehand – and of course that fell in the school holidays so will have been missed by many.”

Speaking at the PCC meeting, councillor Julie Pirone (Cons) said that the parents have the support of all the Tweeddale East and West councillors.

Councillor Robin Tatler (Ind) added that there was a meeting with Mr Renwick and “They held their hands up and said the consultation event was not right”.

Mr Tatler said: “We have one shot, finite space and finite budget.”

Mr Maudsley said: “Peebles Community Council recommends that an event should be held as a matter of urgency which is a true consultation and one that effectively captures comments and concerns from the public.

“Following this, a document should be published identifying the issues and that demonstrates that they have been considered and what action is to be taken on each.

“This is such an important topic with an impact that can be measured over the years to come for Peebles and the wider Tweeddale area.

“Our current crop of pupils at the school and future generations need the best facilities that can be provided.

“We ask that elected councillors liaise urgently with the Parent Council and then represent their views along with those of the wider community to Scottish Borders Council (SBC).”

Scottish Borders Council told us it was aware of parents’ concerns.

A spokesperson said: “We are undertaking engagement to help shape the proposals for the new high school.

“The council is aware of concerns raised and are considering this with the project team.”