Portobello High School plan appeal begins

An appeal hearing over plans to build a new high school has begun in Edinburgh.

Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) are attempting to halt plans for a new Portobello High School on land at Milton Road.

The council said delaying could mean they have to go back out to tender.

Start Quote

Sean Waters

The accommodation is substandard and, really, it's always been substandard”

End Quote Sean Waters

In March, Edinburgh City Council announced it was suing PPAG for £75,000 to cover costs incurred in their recent legal case against the local authority.

Portobello For A New School (PFANS) campaigners, who want the new school to be built at Milton Road, believe PPAG want the appeal to "stall" the project.

Sean Waters, whose two children go to one of the local primary schools at the moment, told BBC radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that the existing high school building is "fundamentally flawed".

He said: "While Portobello High School is a good school, the accommodation is substandard and, really, it's always been substandard. Because it's been built on a site that's half the size it should be."

He accepts that building on green space is "not ideal", but added: "When consultants looked in 2006 it really came down to very limited options, and this was the best of what were very limited options."

Green space

Ian Ross, one of the park campaigners bringing case, said: "We support the need for a new school. We're just unhappy that the school should be on a green space.

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Ian Ross in Portobello park

Within Portobello, this park is 25% of the green space”

End Quote Ian Ross

"We believe that there is room to re-site (the school) on the present site.

"Within Portobello, this park is 25% of the green space. And that would be taken away."

This is disputed, with some claiming it would only affect 3% of the green space.

The hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh will last two days with an outcome due in a few weeks time.

The new £41m school was first proposed 10 years ago to replace a 1960s building.

The design features a 25m swimming pool and two full size all weather sports pitches for community use.

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