School decision deadline set

A DECISION on whether a new £8 million school should be built at Hospitalfield House will be made by the end of the month.

The plans to close both Muirfield and Timmergreens Primaries and merge them on a new site off the Westway are currently in the hands of the Scottish Government with Angus Council waiting and hoping that they will be approved.

The plans were called in by the education secretary Mike Russell for further examination.

And now the government’s school infrastructure unit has asked Angus Council to respond to how they came to the decision that both Muirfield and Timmergreens were earmarked for closure.

They highlight a report from the Scottish Information Commissioner, which shows there may have been abnormalities in the way the school buildings were graded by council surveyors.

In a letter from Jonathan Moore at the unit, to the director of education at the local authority, it says: “In light of these observations the cabinet secretary has indicated that before he makes a decision on the proposed closures of Muirfield and Timmergreens primary schools, which are currently under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010, he wishes to invite Angus Council to comment on the report by January 13.

“The cabinet secretary will then wish to reflect carefully on any comments the council wishes to make before issuing his decision on the two schools which he expects to do by January 31.”

Meanwhile Angus Council have said they will respond to the enquiry in an open and transparent manner.

A spokeswoman said: “The council is disappointed that the education minister has not yet made a decision. To date the council has fully addressed each of the issues raised by the minister. We will respond to this latest enquiry in the same open and transparent manner.

“Our view remains that the proposal to merge Timmergreens and Muirfield primary schools within a new state of the art school building at Hospitalfield is the best solution to address the declining physical condition of the existing school buildings, and to provide pupils, staff and local people with facilities fit for a modern learning community.

“We look forward to the minister’s decision at the end of January.”