Closure threatened Edinburgh school to move to new building

A school which has been threatened with closure three times will move into a new building after councillors gave proposals the green light.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 5:53 pm
An exterior shot of the new building. Picture: Contributed

Education chiefs tabled plans to replace Castlebrae High School in Craigmillar – initially with space for 700 pupils with potential to be bumped up to cater for 1,200 students.

The city council’s development management sub-committee unanimously approved the proposals with the new school set to open in 2021.

A memorial garden, dedicated to a baby, named Craig Millar by the local community, who was found dead on the site in 2001, will be built as part of the new school.

Inside the new Castlebrae High. Picture: Contributed

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Planning officers said: “It will be built with a 700 capacity with the potential to increase up to 1,200 in the future. The school has been designed so that an additional block can be added onto the northern end of the building.

“There’s a small area at the centre of the site which will be used as a memorial garden. The memorial stone itself is going to be removed from the site at present. It has been agreed that will be taken into care by a local undertaker until an appropriate location for that to be relocated has been agreed.

“The design has been carefully considered and will provide an important feature in the regeneration of Craigmillar.”

Ward Cllr Maureen Child welcomed the proposals.

How the new school will look. Picture: Contributed

She said: “This has been in the offing for the last 20 years. The school has come on tremendously. The school itself on its current site has been threatened with closure three times.

“The community is absolutely gung-ho that this should go ahead – we’re not wanting to put any spanners in the works. Some people were very sceptical that it was ever going to happen so to have it getting detailed planning permission today is an absolute joy to me. I think it should start on site ASAP – I’m absolutely delighted.”

The school will be built in the centre of Craigmillar, next to the library. It will have a 3G artificial football pitch, which will be available for use by the local community outside school hours as well as a community town square.

Planning convener Cllr Neil Gardiner said: “There’s a lot of green space and it’s good the school has a strong place in this growing community and there’s future-proofing for growth.

“This will be the first of several schools in the community and this shows the importance of having schools at the right scale in their communities and not necessarily super schools – but schools that represent real communities.”

Councillors also approved plans for a new Victoria Primary School at a new site in Leith.

Education convener, Cllr Ian Perry, said: “It’s great news that both these planning applications have been given the green light and is a clear sign of our determination to provide young people with a first-class inclusive learning environment. I’m sure the Craigmillar community will be especially delighted as a new school has been discussed for many years but now it really is starting to take shape. Work is due to start on the site at the end of the year with the new school opening its doors in August 2021.

“A new Queensferry High will open next year along with our first new primary for a generation in south east Edinburgh as we continue to deliver modern, fit for purpose, learning campuses which are innovatively designed and inspirational places for learning.”

David Bol , Local Democracy Reporting Service