Wallyford Primary rebuild to go ahead after 20-year wait

Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to Queen Margaret Academy in South Ayrshire where she unveiled details of 19 schools which are to benefit from a �230 million construction plan. Picture: PA
Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to Queen Margaret Academy in South Ayrshire where she unveiled details of 19 schools which are to benefit from a �230 million construction plan. Picture: PA
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PLANS for a new school in the Lothians are set to get the go-ahead – two decades after they were first drawn up.

Wallyford Primary in East Lothian is to be completely rebuilt by March 2020 thanks to a Scottish Government cash injection.

Proposals for a campus were first put forward by the local council in the 1990s, with the school expected to accommodate existing pupils and youngsters living in the St Clements Wells housing development.

Spearheaded by Ormiston businessman Jim Aitken, the recently approved scheme will see around £50 million invested to create 1450 homes, sports pitches, a supermarket, shops, restaurants and business units.

There will also be accompanying traffic calming works on Salter’s Road.

The replacement primary school will be one of the development’s key elements, with around 50 per cent of the overall cost due to be covered by ministers.

Local political leaders have welcomed confirmation of the investment.

Councillor John Caldwell, independent member for Musselburgh East and Carberry, said: “I’m really pleased that the Scottish Government intends to provide additional funding to allow this to happen.

“A new primary school in Wallyford would make a big difference to the community. The current school is an old school and this plan has been on the go for a number of years.

“It will be a major boost to the local community there to have a brand new school, which is long overdue.”

News of the funding agreement will come as a relief to teachers and youngsters after earlier plans for a replacement building were affected by changes to European accounting rules.

Signed off under the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the project was originally among those treated as private sector based.

But updated regulations meant it could have been categorised under the public heading, leading to a major impact on budgets and forcing detailed contract reviews.

It has emerged SFT leaders have successfully re-drafted construction proposals, enabling the project to retain its private classification.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The announcement is fantastic news for East Lothian Council. The new Wallyford Primary School will be a fantastic, modern building that pupils, teachers and the whole community will enjoy for generations to come.

“Since 2007, we have worked with local authorities to rebuild or refurbish 607 schools, resulting in the number of children educated in ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ condition schools falling by 60 per cent.

“In addition to the educational benefits of the new school, it will also provide a boost to the local economy, creating many construction jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com