Portobello High School green space plans chosen

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FINAL designs for a new park on the site of the current Portobello High School have been chosen – paving the way for a Scots pine urban forest, wildflower meadow and “boulder play area”.

Plans for the £1 million green space will now go before the council, with work expected to start in summer 2018 following the demolition of the current school.

Three separate proposals were put forward detailing what the new park could look like – with the public asked to choose their favourite.

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The winning design features expansive lawns, climbing frames and even an outdoor classroom to link up with the new St John’s Primary.

Councillor Alex Lunn said the ambitious park concept – set to be called Treverlen Park, the original name for Duddingston, meaning “settlement by the lake of reeds” – was chosen by a “landslide”.

He said: “I would like to thank the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspaces Trust. Consultation is never easy, but a lot of hard work and more went into giving us as clear and as full a picture as possible as to what people’s views are.

“People seem very keen to keep the heritage of Duddingston alive. Everything now is going to be put to the St John’s planning management committee.”

The announcement comes as fresh details were unveiled showcasing how the £11m replacement campus for St John’s Primary will look.

Blueprints show bespoke outdoor teaching areas, wigwams, a dedicated “story hut”, a sports pitch, orchards and even a timber play-pole “forest”.

The new school will be built on part of the existing Portobello High site in Duddingston Road, alongside the planned parkland.

Portobello High School, meanwhile, is getting a £41m replacement building at nearby Portobello Park, which is now nearing completion after years of delays.

It is expected to take its first pupils at the start of 2017, with the old building then scheduled for demolition.

As well as lawns, meadows and woods, the new Treverlen Park will boast boulder structures, stepping stones, net and timber play equipment, timber frames for den building and a concrete free-play area – as well as a footpath connecting the green space to a planned 3G pitch beside St John’s Primary.

Rival proposals would have seen a community and fruiting orchard, outdoor classroom and potting shed, and a “willow coppice plantation and maze” – or a mix of woodland, interactive play areas and an outdoor teaching facility.

City chiefs previously insisted that whatever option was chosen, local schoolchildren would be at the heart of the project.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said the new park would be a welcome addition to the Capital’s green spaces.

She said: “I hope that Treverlen Park will become a real asset to the area. Having residents involved in selecting both the name and how their park will look makes sure the final park will represent what residents of Craigentinny and Duddingston neighbourhood want.

“We are very fortunate to have so many beautiful parks and green spaces throughout the Capital and I look forward to adding Treverlen Park to the list of spaces that the community can enjoy.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk