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Park group’s appeal ‘will delay city school revamps’

Demonstrators protest against the Save Porty Park campaign

Demonstrators protest against the Save Porty Park campaign

FEARS have been raised that an appeal to prevent the new Portobello High School being built on a community park will delay the refurbishment and replacement of other schools across the city.

The concerns follow Portobello Park Action Group’s (PPAG) decision to appeal a Court of Session judgement, which could delay the new school by up to two years.

More than 900 people have now signed a petition calling for PPAG, which is opposed to the new school being built on Portobello Park, to drop its appeal.

Portobello For a New School (PFANS) said not only could the appeal delay the opening of the school by a further two years – and force the council to re-tender the contract, increasing the costs by “millions of pounds” – it may also reduce the amount of money available to replace or refurbish other city schools.

Sean Watters of PFANS said: “An appeal by PPAG won’t just delay Portobello High School, it could delay desperately needed work to improve other schools.”

PPAG had taken a legal challenge to the Court of Session to determine whether the city council had the right to build a replacement Portobello High School on Portobello Park.

But Judge Lady Dorrian upheld the council’s appropriation of part of the park last month, with PPAG subsequently lodging an eleventh hour appeal.

Last week, council chiefs revealed that they will go to court to recover at least £75,000 in legal fees from PPAG.

City education leader Marilyne MacLaren today said improvement works at Stockbridge, East Craigs and Blackhall primary schools may also be delayed, depending how long the appeal lasts.

She added: “Such stubbornness from PPAG in deciding to continue, despite the fact that the robust legal judgement has indicated that we can build on the park, is heartbreaking. It affects so many children.”

 

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