Porty campaigners urge community to help them take fight for park site to law lords and politicians
CAMPAIGNERS pressing for a new high school to be built on Portobello Park have taken their message to the streets to put pressure on law lords and politicians.
The publicity drive will see scores of posters mounted in the windows of homes and cars across the suburb, encouraging people to ramp up the pressure for a legal fight to reverse a court ruling preventing Portobello High School being built on parkland.
The move comes as the Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) distributed leaflets calling for both sides to work together to build a school, following the court of session judgement prohibiting construction on the park believed to be common good land.
The PPAG flyer suggests that a further courtroom battle over the status of the park could see development of a new campus postponed by another six years.But the pro-park campaign, run by Portobello High School parent council, said there are “no other suitable sites in the catchment” and have ruled out building a new campus on the existing site because it is “too small and the whole school would have to be put into portable cabins”.
And it reads: “Our high school is a great asset to this community, we do not want it to be split up.
“We are not prepared to settle for a rushed and ill-thought-out alternative.”
Paul Smart, chair of Portobello High School parent council, said: “The building of our desperately needed new high school has been halted by a court decision, which many people think is wrong and which has implications far beyond Portobello.
“Due to a legal loophole, the wellbeing and education of thousands of children and young people is being damaged so we’re asking the council and politicians – both national and local – to pursue all legal and legislative means to deliver our new school.”
Following the Court of Session judgement earlier this month, the city is looking at alternative options – including an appeal to the Supreme Court and finding another site.
Parents are also known to be considering setting up a trust to out-manoeuvre legal obstacles preventing Portobello Park from being built upon.
Members of the Portobello for a New School (PFANS) said a trust would allow councillors to get round a Court of Session ruling that city bosses did not have the power to appropriate the common good land at Portobello Park.
Giselle Baillie, a parent with two children at the High School said: “The full council meets in a couple of weeks to decide what to do and we’re urging them to rule nothing out. They need urgently to find a way to overcome the legal judgment so that this community can get the high school it deserves.”
A report on new Portobello High School is to go before the full council on October 25.
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