Date set for crunch review hearing

A DATE of May 3 has been set for a judicial review into the Arbroath schools’ decision, the same day as voters will go to the polls in local elections.

Angus Council is appealing the Scottish Government’s decision to reject plans for the closure of both Timmergreens and Muirfield Primaries in favour of a brand new £8 million school in the grounds of Hospitalfield House.

But on the same day as the local authority argues its case against the government at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the people of Angus will also be deciding the fate of the council.

Therefore there is the possibility that come the day after the hearing, a brand new administration may be in charge of the local authority and may not want to press ahead with the school plan.

Already the SNP has made an election pledge that if they are voted into power, the entire Arbroath Schools Project would be taken back to the consultation phase.

The papers outlining the local authority’s appeal against the Scottish Government’s decision were lodged on February 24 and solicitors Simpson and Marwick have been appointed on their behalf.

Angus Council proposed to close Muirfield and Timmergreens Primaries in favour of a ‘superschool’ just off the Westway but faced strong opposition from some parents.

Despite this the proposals were given the go ahead by the local authority, but then the Scottish Government used powers to call in the decision and examine it more closely.

And at the end of January education minister Mike Russell refused to back the plans citing concerns with the initial consultation process and road safety at the proposed new school site.

However, last month the local authority then opted to challenge the education minister’s decision by launching a judicial review, which will be heard in the Court of Session.

It has been suggested launching the review has come at a cost of £40,000 to Angus Council.

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1

l What do you think? Should Angus Council have waited until after the election before challenging the education ministers decision to reject the school plan? Or are they right to press ahead with the judicial review?

Contact us with you views by emailing arbroath.herald@jnscotland.co.uk or send a letter to Arbroath Herald, 21 Market Place, Arbroath DD11 1HR.