There has never been any doubt that Portobello High School should be replaced, but opinion has been divided on whether it should be built on Portobello Park.
The outcome of the consultation we have just carried out shows that more than three-quarters of the local population want the school to be built on the park and support our endeavours to this end.
This is an issue which has seen the level of public interest grow steadily over the years. The 12,000 responses we received are testament to this.
I have always believed that if we wish to provide staff, students and the wider community with the first-class facilities they deserve that only Portobello Park can meet this need. Anecdotal feedback has always suggested there was strong support for our proposals and I am pleased that this has been confirmed. With 75 per cent of the Portobello public and 70 per cent of people across the city backing our plans, we have a public mandate to take a Bill to the Scottish Parliament.
Politicians are often accused of not listening to public opinion, but in this case we have heard loud and clear that people believe the education of children must be given the highest priority.
Many people who responded rightly highlighted the importance of green space to the community. They also went on to say – and I agree – that the new community facilities both within the school and in the new park will be a positive replacement and would be of greater benefit than the existing park.
I am confident that MSPs will support our proposals and Portobello pupils will receive the school they rightly deserve.
Councillor Paul Godzik is the city’s education leader.