Anger over old school sale

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THREE former city schools are set to be turned into housing and a supermarket in deals totalling £6 million.

Buildings belonging to Bonaly Primary, Curriehill Primary and Dumbryden Primary are expected to be sold off after lying empty for the past few years.

But there is anger that at least one of the school sites is being sold for considerably less than its true value.

The biggest of the three deals will see the former Curriehill buildings sold off to McDonald Estates for more than 4m after pupils moved to the new Currie Primary at Riccarton in 2007.

Providing the sale is approved by councillors, the developer is expected to turn the site into a supermarket.

Dumbryden is expected to be sold to Prospect Housing Association for 1.14m, but it is the deal for a former annexe at Bonaly Primary which has caused the most community anger.

Local campaigners had hoped to raise 1m to turn the former school building into a community centre but missed out after the council accepted a 1.4m offer from Sundial Properties, a deal which later fell through.

Now locals are upset the local authority is set to accept 971,000 from private firm Rutherford Finance in a deal which could see a care home or apartments built on the site.

Alex Stewart, chairman of the Colinton Amenity Association, said: "What we are annoyed about is that the council are letting this site go for such a ridiculous price.

"When the community was trying to buy it they would not let it go for less than 1.4m. We had a meeting with (education convener] Marilyne MacLaren, who gave us encouragement to go off and raise the money.

"We're simply not happy about a deal where the community gets no involvement in the site and I now think questions need to be asked about value for money."

The council has said it is only selling off properties which it can get a good price for in the current market, adding that it is under no obligation to accept an offer not in the public interest.

A city council spokeswoman said: "The council is marketing specific properties to get the best price and will only accept offers considered reasonable and in the public interest."

Back in 2007 the council had hoped to raise 12.6m from the sale of Curriehill, the Bonaly annexe and St Nicholas Special School.

Parents in Currie claimed the council had almost doubled the size of the site offered to Dundas Estate and Development Company for 6.4m to 1.08 hectares, but the deal later collapsed.

It is understood the current deal is for a smaller site.