PLANS to rip out the “heart” of a Peebles primary school have left parents furious.

Halyrude Primary School shares a building with Leader Valley, which caters for young children with complex learning needs.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has submitted a scheme to move P1 to P7 pupils to the first floor and lose the St Joseph’s Centre – an atrium at the centre of the school.

Halyrude Parents Council leader Anne Milligan, supported by other parents and Father Tony Lappin, gave a presentation to Peebles Community Council (PCC) last Thursday.

Ms Milligan’s supporting document said: “The proposed plans, that have been published on the SBC planning portal, look harmless, but the impact on the pupils at Halyrude Primary will be huge.

“This will result in the loss of the central hub, on the ground floor of the school, moving all P1 to P7 pupils upstairs within the building, so children will lose direct access to collaboration areas and outdoor space.”

She added: “The St Joseph’s Centre is a key area and it will be gone, losing break-out spaces, the large assembly area and a place for large Christmas shows.

“Why does SBC want to take away that area?

“I do not think there is a primary school in the whole of the Scottish Borders on the first floor.”

Currently there are two Halyrude classrooms on the ground floor and four on the first.

Meanwhile, Leader Valley has one on the ground floor and two on the first.

SBC said this created a “sense of isolation and separation between pupils within each school”.

It added: “While there is clear zoning between learning areas, administrative areas, gym and dining, there is no clear zoning between Halyrude and Leader Valley classrooms.”

It plans to create a ‘slapping’ – a gap or opening in a wall – on the ground floor to allow the current staff room and classroom to form a new Special Educational Needs (SEN) workspace.

The project would also see Leader Valley gain a “direct, level access” to an external play area.

There have been nearly 60 formal objections from parents submitted to SBC’s planning portal.

The Parent Council’s supporting document drew attention to the lack of toilet provision on the first floor with just three for the 100 pupils.

Frustrations were also voiced over a lack of “meaningful” consultation from the council.

Ms Milligan said: “There was no consultation with the school and Halyrude parents only found out about the plans in December.

“Although SBC is not legally obliged to do so, this goes against the Scottish Government’s main guiding principle for designing schools.”

PCC chairman Peter Maudsley said: “The issue that is central to this is SBC’s lack of consultation.

“It also does not seem sensible to me to move 100 children upstairs where there are only three toilets as opposed to 20 on the ground floor.”

Tweeddale East councillor Julie Pirone said: “I spoke to the director of education today and she has committed to engage with the parent’s council next week and hopefully the head teacher will be there as well.”

Tweeddale east councillor Marshall Douglas, who is on the planning committee, said: “There are two processes here, education and planning. Anyone who formally objects will be able to attend the planning meeting.”

SBC was approached for comment.