South Scotland

Borders General Hospital ambulance base bid goes to appeal

Image caption The Scottish Ambulance Service says the new centre would improve its response times

An appeal will be decided by the Scottish government after plans for a new ambulance station at Borders General Hospital were rejected.

Councillors turned down the proposals last year due to landscape concerns.

The Scottish Ambulance Service has appealed against that decision. It wants to build the facility to replace its old depot in Galashiels.

It says that would free up the site for a new doctors' surgery while improving ambulance response times.

At present, crews reach only 62% of emergency calls in eight minutes - well outside a government target of 75%.

However, the SAS's preferred site, next to the Melrose bypass and at the entrance to the BGH, was thrown out by councillors.

They were concerned that trees screening the hospital would have to go - affecting the scenic landscape of the Eildon Hills.

Planning officials suggested that the £1.8m centre could be positioned further up into the hospital grounds instead, but ambulance bosses insisted that would slow their response times.

They have now lodged an appeal with the Scottish government, with a decision likely in April.

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