SUPPORTERS of a new high school for Portobello are warning people who sign up to an organised 5K run that they could be inadvertently helping to fund a legal bid to block the development.
Members of Portobello For a New School (PFANS) have issued the warning to potential participants of next Thursday’s Space To Breathe race amid claims the organisers are being “secretive” about their involvement in the event.
The race, which will take place on Portobello Park – the site for the new high school – has been organised by Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG).
The group has recently raised a petition in the Court of Session to try to prevent the school being built on the park on the grounds that it is common good land.
Parent supporters of the new school are accusing PPAG of trying to get people to help fund their legal costs by charging a £5 entry fee.
They claim many people will be unaware the event has been organised by PPAG as there is no mention of it on the registration website, EntryCentral.
However, PPAG argues the event is to raise the profile of the park and that the entry fee will cover costs and prizes.
The group says it does not know how much – if any – money will be left over so it cannot comment on whether the fees will be put into its fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the legal petition.
Sean Watters, chair of Towerbank Primary’s parent council and active PFANS member, said the 5K event was “fundraising in secret”.
He said: “It’s perfectly reasonable to have a fundraising event. But doing it without telling people what they’re doing it for is very secretive.
“This is not the first time they’ve done something like this. A few years ago they held a coffee morning in a church and in the smallest type possible at the bottom of the poster it said what it was in aid of.”
He added that parents are furious with the timing of PPAG’s legal bid as it will delay the school opening date.
Ros Sutherland, chair of PPAG, said: “The race is being run as a profile-raising event and if you look at the flyer that’s been circulated it says there is a cost to enter the race, which is £5 per person, and there are prizes.
“There is a cost involved with hosting a race and the entry fee is to cover those costs.
“At this point I couldn’t comment [on whether the entry fee will go towards the legal costs] because I don’t know how many people have entered.
“I haven’t totalled the cost in terms of our expenditure so I’m not in a position to comment on that because I have no idea how many people have entered or what is our outlay.”
Interactive – Page 16