First class school plans unveiled

The artist's impressions for the new Bilston Primary School. Picture: comp
The artist's impressions for the new Bilston Primary School. Picture: comp
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Designs for two new primary schools – with a combined £14 million price tag – have been revealed to their communities.

Applications for the state-of-the-art buildings have now been submitted to Midlothian Council, drawn up by award-winning AHR Architects.

If planning consent is granted next month, the schools are set to be completed by autumn 2016.

One of the schools is due to be built in the public park in Bilston and the other on land east of Whitehouse Way in Gorebridge, both in response to hundreds of new homes earmarked for nearby.

A council spokeswoman said: “We’re delighted the applications for both Bilston and Gorebridge are now submitted.

“The facilities will provide great learning environments for our children. We look forward to welcoming the first pupils, hopefully around autumn of 2016.”

The Bilston school will include nursery and primary facilities at a cost of around £6.3m.

The larger Gorebridge school will cater for up to 400 pupils with two classes in each primary year, and is expected to cost about £8m.

Drawings reveal plans for both schools to have an outdoor multi-use games area, changing rooms and sports pitch, as well as offering facilities for community use.

The news comes as the Midlothian Development Plan revealed new housing for both areas, with 300 homes planned for Bilston and 1050 for Gorebridge.

The proposals were first announced in 2011 with several developers agreeing to foot the “vast majority” of the bill and the council insisting it would meet any shortfall.

The plans have been welcomed by both communities, especially in Bilston which will have its first school catering for all primary ages.

It will replace the Roslin Primary School annexe, located just off Park Avenue in the expanding village.

Roslin and Bilston Community Council vice-chairwoman Katherine Lang explained how children older than P1 from Bilston currently travel to Roslin for school and the current facility only caters for around 50 youngsters.

The new school, however, will cater for up to 200 pupils.

Ms Lang said it was important the village had its own school so it did not feel like “second-class citizens” to Roslin.

She also praised the council for listening to the community’s needs and revising initial plans so aspects such as more storage could be created.

She said: “We are quite happy and they [Midlothian Council] seem to be keeping us in the loop.”

Gorebridge Community Council chairman Eddie Robertson also welcomed the plans, saying there was “always a need for a new school” with the amount of houses being built in the area.