Glasgow & West Scotland

Gregory's Girl school Abronhill High to close in 2014

John Gordon Sinclair and Clare Grogan outside Abronhill High
Image caption John Gordon Sinclair and Clare Grogan filmed scenes outside Abronhill High

Abronhill High - the secondary school immortalised in Bill Forsyth's film Gregory's Girl - is to close.

North Lanarkshire Council has approved plans to close the school at the end of the 2014 academic term.

Pupils will transfer to Cumbernauld High, which will be replaced itself by a new school campus.

The decision - which was taken in the face of widespread local opposition - aims to address the falling school roll and realise annual savings of £1.3m.

It is possible, however, that Scottish ministers may decide to call in the closure plans for review due to the level of controversy in the local community.

The decision to close Abronhill was taken on Wednesday by the authority's learning and leisure services committee and later ratified by the full council.

'Empty spaces'

Convener Cllr Jim Logue said: "The fundamental reasons for making these proposals have not altered, namely - the schools are hugely under-occupied.

"Abronhill and Cumbernauld High Schools alone are sitting with a combined surplus of around 950 empty places.

"We need to make savings to allow a new school to be built."

Cllr Logue said the decision paved the way for a "new school and community facility to be built" that would be "fit for the modern curriculum".

Under the original proposal, Abronhill would have closed this year, with pupils transferring to Cumbernauld in August.

Following a consultation, which widely opposed the closure of Abronhill, the closure has been put back to 2014.

Cllr Logue added: "Of course, we never take decisions like this lightly, and I would like to commend and thank everyone who participated in the consultation.

"We've listened to all the concerns raised and that's why we've given an extra year before the rationalisation will be implemented."

North Lanarkshire Council said that it would be investing £70m in "two state-of-the-art secondary schools will be built in Cumbernauld" - the replacement Cumbernauld High and the new Greenfaulds High School campus.

'Dark Day'

Scott Campbell, a spokesman for the Save Abronhill High School campaign, described the decision as "a dark day".

"We are very anger that the councillors, who voted for the closure, didn't support the unprecedented response of the community's rejection of the proposals, in the council's consultation," he said.

"We have previously warned that we are the community, the majority, the voters and, ultimately, their pay masters.

"This decision will not be forgotten - it is a dark day for local democracy, Abronhill and the individual councillors who favoured Abronhill High's closure."

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, branded the decision to close Abronhill as "an absolute disgrace".

"North Lanarkshire Council have once again put aside the wishes of the community in order to pursue their own agenda," he said.

"They have let the people of Cumbernauld down, the very people they were elected to represent."

Many of the exterior scenes for Gregory's Girl were filmed outside Abronhill High.

The much-loved film starred John Gordon Sinclair as Gregory, Dee Hepburn as Dorothy and Clare Grogan as Susan.

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