Parents hail plans to replace crumbling schools

Roslin Primary is in poor condition. Picture: Neil Hanna
Roslin Primary is in poor condition. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Parents have hailed plans to demolish two overcrowded Midlothian schools and replace them with new community hubs.

Council officials have earmarked £18 million to rebuild primary schools in Loanhead and Roslin after a cash injection from the Scottish Government.

Learning Minister Alasdair Allan unveiled the plans as part of Holyrood’s £330m Schools for the Future programme, which will replace more than 30 schools across the country in its first phase. Roslin Primary and Loanhead’s Paradykes Primary were selected for the first wave of funding because of their deteriorating conditions and poor layouts, and as a condition of the government’s £10m funding, will be completed by 2017.

Midlothian Council leader Owen Thompson said the authority was now looking for architects with community space being incorporated into the design.

“There is a vision we can get new or improved leisure facilities and library – maybe even a town hall,” he said. “That is my idea, but it is absolutely right that discussion now takes place with the community.”

A full public consultation will be launched in the coming weeks to gather a consensus on what should be included in the plans. Parents said plans to replace Paradykes were long overdue, especially as the school was built in 1977 as a temporary measure.

Despite investment in recent years, Paradykes mum Julie Smith said the building was beyond its serviceable life. “It’s dated and it has become overcrowded,” she said.

Officials are already preparing to survey nearby green space to locate a suitable site for the school’s £13m replacement, with housing set to be built on the old school site.

Meanwhile, a £5m community hub has been planned to replace Roslin Primary School.

Local parents say the “much-needed” move would expand the school’s capacity by over a third, and would also see the arrival of a new, purpose-built nursery facility.

“Roslin Primary is getting old, and things need done – but most of all, there isn’t room at the school for any more ­children,” said mum Katherine Lang, who also serves on the local community council.

“With the number of housing developments that have either been approved around Roslin or are being considered, the village simply needs a ­bigger primary school.”

Last summer, planning ­officials gave the green light for a 160-home development along Seafield Road, just north of Roslin.

And at the start of this year, talks were launched to ­transform the current Roslin Institute site to the Northwest of the village into housing.

“Parents will definitely ­welcome plans for a new school,” Ms Lang said.

Midlothian Council has set a November deadline for contractors to bid for the projects.

nash.riggins@jpress.co.uk