Leader: ‘MacAskill may be able to convince MSPs’

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Today’s story that Edinburgh City Council is continuing to push ahead on several fronts to build a new high school for Portobello should be welcomed by all of those who want the best for our children.

The current facility is not fit-for-purpose and – as the Evening News’s own campaign has argued – a new school must be built as quickly as possible.

After the landmark Court of Session ruling that the local authority could not begin construction on Portobello Park as it was common good land, it might have seemed as if this option was off the table.

But now education leader Paul Godzik and his team are moving to change the law at the Scottish Parliament to allow the park to be built on. A similar Act has been successful once before to permit the National Galleries of Scotland extension in Princes Street Gardens.

The council believes the Holyrood option is the best chance for success, although it’s not necessarily a quick option. It could take up to 18 months for this to pass and even then there is no automatic guarantee of success. However, with local MSP and justice secretary Kenny MacAskill on board surely fellow MSPs can be convinced?

Sensibly, however, the council is to progress investigation on some alternative options, including building on the existing site (not ideal as it is too small) and looking at other parcels of land.

Either way, the new school will be built. The challenge now is to complete this as quickly as we can. Too many pupils have already been left to finish their high school years in a building that should have been closed long ago.

Setting Suntrap

So the sun has gone down on the fight to save the Suntrap Garden in Gogar.

The campaigners who have been fighting to buy the hidden three-acre oasis have admitted today that they will not be able to raise the funds.

They have, however, offered to work with the new owners and we hope this will be possible.

The garden – and the eco-house on the site created by George Boyd Anderson in 1957 – has the potential to be a fantastic and historic 
resource.

The support for the campaign to save it since it was first put under threat of development in 2010 shows that there is the enthusiasm, if not quite the cash, to do so.

We hope there is a way to save Suntrap for future generations because, as we know from bitter experience, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.