CAMPAIGNERS calling for a new Boroughmuir High School have welcomed a successful bid to build on the site of the former Fountain Brewery.
Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Fountainbridge site, has accepted the local authority’s bid to buy the land for the school.
The city council secured “preferred bidder” status, which means the site will be bought subject to the conclusion of missives and the approval of full council at its meeting on November 24 – with the purchase being confirmed before the end of the year.
Following the purchase, a full consultation on the proposal will be carried out early next year on moving the school to Fountainbridge.
City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “I’m delighted we have moved a step closer to securing a new home for Boroughmuir. The school has been on the rebuild list for many years and the community had almost given up hope of finding a site.
“The Fountainbridge site will allow the school to be developed within a city centre location in a unique and special learning environment.”
The Scottish Government confirmed last year that Boroughmuir would benefit from funding through the Schools for the Future programme.
However, until a month ago, it was unclear whether the council would opt for an on-site refurbishment or a new school.
The 13-acre former Fountain Brewery site was an original candidate for a new Boroughmuir when the council was looking for sites. However, it was snapped up by HBOS – which was taken over by Lloyds – in 2008 for £30 million. A new Bank of Scotland office had been planned, but the plans were formally dropped by Lloyds following its takeover.
Councillor Paul Godzik, Labour’s education spokesman, said: “I’m pleased the council now has preferred bidder status. Clearly the council now has to get the view of parents with regard to their plans and ideas, and refurbishment still remains a viable option.
“However the brewery site has huge potential, not just for the school, but for the community, and it does seem like a step forward in terms of delivering a new school.”
A council spokesman said that the current school building, which is B-listed, will be put up for sale next year and redeveloped.
Property developer Cityheart is understood to be buying a small part of the site on which it will build student apartments.
A spokesman for Lloyds Banking Group said: “Edinburgh City Council is the preferred bidder for the site and discussions on concluding the deal are continuing.”