Convener believes 90 per cent accept new school plan

AN ARBROATH councillor has defended the plans for a new £8 million school at Hospitalfield saying he believes 90 per cent of parents are accepting of the development.

Angus Council plans to merge Muirfield and Timmergreens Primaries in a new building within Hospitalfield House and the results of the consultation period will go before the education committee on Thursday.

The Muirfield Action Group, an independent body of parents, have raised serious concerns with the plan relating to funding for the project and road safety as some pupils will be required to cross the busy Westway to reach the school.

They aired some of their concerns last Tuesday at a public meeting which was attended by officials from the local authority’s education department.

But education convener Peter Nield has explained that despite listening to the Action Group he believes a “silent majority” are happy with the plans.

He said: “I do listen to what the Action Group is saying but I too must listen to the silent majority who appear to support the new school.

“However the bottom line for me is somewhere between five per cent and 10 per cent of the parents might be against the new school but at least 90 per cent either support or are accepting of what is going to be a new and exciting school for their children.”

At last Tuesday’s heated public meeting, road safety was an issue that most attendees were concerned about, especially as the school will be situated next to the Westway, one of the busiest roads in Arbroath.

But Councillor Nield added that measures will be put in place to make the crossing safe.

He explained: “On a morning if you look at the children going down or across the Westway, there are all ages from early primary to senior secondary, some with parents and some without.

“I don’t see the crossing of the Westway for the new school being insurmountable, when it will be 20 miles per hour, with manned traffic lights, a manned underpass and barriers along the pavement.

“None of this is present now and children are managing now – it will be much safer for all if the new school is built.”