Two schools to be built for new housing

A sod cutting ceremony marks the start of work on Lasswade Community High School
A sod cutting ceremony marks the start of work on Lasswade Community High School
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TWO multi-million-pound primary schools are to be built to cater for an influx of families moving into new housing.

Work on the first school, to the north of Gorebridge in Midlothian, is set to begin in 2014 at a cost of £6.26 million.

It will cope with demand from people setting up in the nearby Persimmon Homes development in Dewar Park, where construction work to build the first of 600 properties began earlier this year.

The second school will be built in Bilston at a cost of £6.46m, in response to a development by Taylor Wimpey in Seafield Road.

Katherine Lang, a member of Bilston Community Council, said: “This is great news. If you are going to buy a family home you want to know there is adequate schooling.”

Councillor Peter Boyes, the region’s education leader, said: “Financially, these are the toughest of times but we are determined to keep investing in the next generation.”

Both schools will be built with developer contributions as a condition of them building new housing in the area.

Labour councillor Jim Muirhead, who represents Midlothian South, which takes in Gorebridge, said the new school was a welcome addition.

It will be the fourth school in the area – in addition to Stobhill, St Andrew’s and Gorebridge primaries – and will be situated at the bottom end of Arniston Park.

Cllr Muirhead said: “All of our schools in the area are already at capacity, or heading towards that. The Stobhill school had two additional classrooms put in but those are now pretty much exhausted.”

Resident Archie Pacey, secretary of Gorebridge Community Council, said: “We are looking forward to these developments because it’s taking a place that was a clapped-out mining village into a forward-looking community.”

The new Bilston school will receive £2.9m in developer contributions, with the rest being funded by the council.

The Gorebridge school will be fully funded by developer contributions, of which £5m has already been secured. The outstanding cost has still to be negotiated with the developer.

Since 2003, Midlothian Council has built 15 new schools and refurbished two others. Work is already under way on two more – a new primary school at Hopefield, which will cost £5.9m and the Lasswade High School and community hub, which will cost £37.1m. The total investment which has already been put into Midlothian’s school estate since 2003 is £147.2m.

Midlothian Council is also looking into the future of Rosewell Primary to see “how it can meet the education needs of both current and future pupils”.

The replacement Lasswade High School was named among the first 14 secondary schools to benefit from the Scottish Government’s £1.25 billion school building programme.

It will feature a community library, as well as new educational and leisure facilities including a 25-metre six-lane competition swimming pool.