SNP set to wield axe on ‘super school’

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THE NEW ruling SNP group of Angus Council has confirmed they will live up to their election pledge by scrapping the judicial review of the Arbroath Schools Project.

After taking the 15 seats needed for a majority on the local authority, the party is in the process of forming a new administration.

In December last year, the then SNP group leader, Councillor Helen Oswald, said it would be an election pledge of the party to axe plans to build a new £8 million school near to Hospitalfield House and close both Muirfield and Timmergreens primaries.

She added that they would also take the project back to the first phase, after previous consultation on school estate across Arbroath was heavily criticised.

And a statement released from the party this week explained that they fully intend to carry out the promise they made to voters.

The SNP statement read: “The SNP’s Angus group made a clear and unambiguous pre-election pledge over the Arbroath Schools Project.

“We stated that if we could form an administration after the election, we would scrap the judicial review and begin a fresh period of consultation across the entire Arbroath school estate.

“We now fully intend following through with that commitment and believe that the council must deal with this issue as quickly as possible to avoid escalating legal costs and continued uncertainty.”

The plans to close Muirfield and Timmergreens were deeply unpopular with many parents, and concerns regarding road safety were high on the agenda as some pupils of the new school would have been forced to cross the busy Westway.

Despite this, the previous ruling body approved the plans before the Scottish Government’s Education Minister, Mike Russell, rejected the proposals.

The local authority then launched a judicial review to challenge Mr Russell’s decision, as they believed he acted outwith his powers.

The review was due to be heard in the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Thursday and Friday, but was adjourned until June 28 and 29.

Launching the legal action was also highly criticised, with the previous administration being accused of wasting taxpayers’ cash on the case.

And recent suggestions estimate the case could end up costing the council alone £20,000.

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1

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