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MSPs throw out objections to new Portobello school

This news post is about 10 years old

Plans to build a new school on parkland in Portobello could be back on track after MSPs backed the council and dismissed critics concerns

Campaigners protesting against proposals to build a new school in parkland in Portobello, Edinburgh have had their concerns thrown out by MSPs.

As reported in TFN last week, a Holyrood committee had been convened to consider objections to a City of Edinburgh Council private bill, which would enable it to push ahead with building the new school.

It is clear that the committee have considered, in great detail, the arguments put forward - Paul Godzik

The council created the bill after a group of residents scored a major coup in the Court of Session last year, when it was ruled the site was "inalienable common good land" and couldn't be built on.

The parliament committee however has now reported back saying, after considering views of both sides, it felt the benefits of the development outweighed the concerns.

The council’s bill is aimed at changing the park’s status to “alienable” and opening it up for education-related development.

"Having taken account of all the evidence, the committee is satisfied that the benefits of the proposal which the bill would allow to be taken forward, outweigh the disbenefits,” stated the committee’s report.

"In conclusion, the committee is satisfied that, while the bill itself does not authorise the construction of the school in Portobello Park, by removing the legal obstacle which currently prevents it, the subsequent development which would impact on objectors’ private interests are in all the circumstances proportionate."

The committee, comprising Siobhan McMahon of Labour, James Dornan and Fiona McLeod of the SNP, and Liberal Democrat Alison McInnes, will now pass the bill to the parliament for approval.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "I thank the committee for their diligence and look forward to the next stage which will be the consideration of any proposed amendments to the bill and then obviously the final vote in parliament which will determine if the bill does proceed.”