Councillors’ concerns over school plan discussed with authority chief

SNP COUNCILLORS Helen Oswald, group leader; Sheena Welsh, Donald Morrison and Iain Gaul met with the chief executive of Angus Council, Richard Stiff, on Friday to discuss their ongoing concerns over the Hospitalfield Primary School issue.

The local authority plan to close both Timmergreens Primary School and Muirfield Primary School and create a new school adjacent to Westway has been strongly opposed within the community and the decision has been ‘called in’ by the Scottish Government.

A total of 50 letters of objection to the proposal were received by Holyrood and ministers have decided to examine the decision to go ahead with the plan taken by Angus Council on the grounds that the local authority may not have carried out a sufficient consultation and that road safety issues may not have been addressed fully.

The main issue on the agenda at the councillors’ meeting was the public’s continued suspicion that there was something fundamentally wrong with the initial informal consultation.

Councillor Oswald stated: “It is alleged that over 1,000 responses came from the same computer IP address and many believe this led to the remit for progressing to the decision to build a new school at Hospitalfield.

“Mr Stiff listened carefully to what we had to say and although he was not able to promise an independent inquiry, he did say that he would consider referring the matter to an external auditor.”

She concluded: “While we cautiously welcome the possibility of an external investigation, we remain concerned about the damaging effect of this bad publicity on Angus Council.”