Councillor claims that school review may be re-opened

AN ARBROATH councillor has claimed the judicial review into the Arbroath Schools Project could be resurrected.

Last year the education minister Mike Russell axed plans to close Muirfield and Timmergreens Primaries and merge them into a £8 million new build.

Angus Council, under the previous Angus Alliance administration, intended to appeal the minister’s decision and started a judicial review in the High Court.

However, this was stopped by the new SNP administration in May after they came to power in the local council elections.

But now Councillor David Fairweather, a former Angus Alliance member, says the review might still go ahead.

He told the Herald: “The review was stopped by the SNP after the 2012 local elections having cost £9,000 which is now lost.

“The council officers and the chief executive believed the council had a good case.

“Now I am pleased to say that a constituent and former pupil of Muirfield School is looking to resurrect the judicial review with the help of a local solicitor.

“So perhaps we may still find out who was correct in this matter.”

The Arbroath Schools Project has now gone back to the consultation phase with all 10 schools in the town and surrounding area taking part.

The council is looking at four options for improving school estate in the town, including repairs to all schools, major refurbishments and even new builds with £10.6 million available.

The consultation was agreed at an education committee meeting last month, and Councillor Fairweather had planned to refer the item to the full Angus Council meeting, which took place yesterday (Thursday).

But he added the decided not to do this.

He said: “I have no wish to hold up any longer something that is very important to our primary school children’s future.

“However, it would seem that the new agreed consultation will not be a quick one and was again taken aback by Councillor Ewan Smith’s disregard for the officer’s advice.

“I look forward to the findings of the consultation and to see how the £10.6 million that was put into the council capital plan for the Arbroath Schools Project by the previous Angus Alliance Administration is spent for best value and hopefully not spending good money after bad.

“Most importantly we need to give our school children the best facilities available and if that still remains, losing two schools to make one fit for the foreseeable future then so be it.”