Call it in says town MSP

LOCAL MSP Graeme Dey is to ask the Scottish Government to call in the decision which saw Angus councillors approve a controversial new primary school at Hospitalfield.

At Wednesday’s full meeting of Angus Council, members gave the go ahead to the proposal to close and merge Muirfield and Timmergreens Primaries in the new £8 million school on the Westway.

This is despite strong opposition to the project since it was announced with road safety worries one of the main concerns of parents.

The plans have to be formally approved by the Scottish Government, but Mr Dey is to write to the Education Secretary asking him to examine the decision more closely.

He fears that the issue of road safety has not been addressed and that the school could have a detrimental effect on other upgrades to school estate in Arbroath.

He explained: “To say this issue has been contentious is an understatement and I think for the benefit of all concerned it would be best if the decision taken last week by Angus Council to proceed with closure is examined now in a considered and dispassionate way by the Cabinet Secretary.

“As it is alleged by some parents that the consultation process was not carried out as required under the Schools Consultation Act and that the local authority have not given due regard to a ‘material consideration’ – notably road safety – then the criteria for a call in does appear to be met.

“And given the heat generated by this matter, I feel it would help if the Cabinet Secretary stepped in.

“In the context of the Hospitalfield proposal I remain concerned that in-sufficient attention has been paid to road traffic related safety. Fears raised that the new build in the west of Arbroath won’t have a detrimental effect on Angus Council’s ability to bring other schools in the town up to scratch have also still to be allayed.”

The Muirfield Action Group has also been vocal in their opposition of the new school and they, too, have voiced their concern with the Scottish Government.

The group’s leader, Ewan Smith, said: “This school is far from a ‘done deal’ and we have now submitted a very detailed ‘call-in request’ over the potential closure of Muirfield and Timmergreens to the Scottish Government.

“Ultimately, though, the Education Minister will decide whether or not this new school is the best way forward for our children and we await his decision with interest.”