Fury as Castlebrae school demolition plans leaked

Parents, pupils and local residents protest outside the Castlebrae Community High School. Picture Ian Rutherford
Parents, pupils and local residents protest outside the Castlebrae Community High School. Picture Ian Rutherford
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ANGRY parents campaigning to keep a city school open claim leaked plans prove council chiefs have been planning to demolish the site all along.

Save the Brae campaigners said they had uncovered council papers which show that the current Castlebrae Community High School site has been earmarked for housing – before the conclusion of a public consultation on the proposed 

The first of four public consultation meetings at which the city council will hear the views of parents and the public about the planned closure took place last night, but Save the Brae has branded the consultation process “a sham”.

However, the city council hit back at the campaigners, saying the blueprint they’ve based their assumptions on is seven years old.

The rumpus reached fever point last night at a heated public meeting, which was attended by chairman of the Save the Brae campaign group, Kevin Finlay.

He said: “This makes a bit of a sham of any consultation process if the site has already been earmarked for housing.

“We have got to ask ourselves, is the consultation open and transparent – or are there other things already on the agenda?”

Last month, councillors at the education committee meeting approved plans to consult on the closure of Castlebrae Community High School following poor exam results and a falling school roll. It is anticipated that the 200 pupils at the Craigmillar school will transfer to Liberton, Portobello and Holy Rood high schools following the proposed closure next summer.

A consultation on a possible change to the catchment area of Portobello High School should Castlebrae close next summer will take place in Portobello Town Hall tonight at 7pm. Further meetings in Liberton and Holy Rood High Schools are planned for next week. A spokeswoman for the city council said: “As part of the 2005 Craigmillar Urban Design Framework, it was envisaged Castlebrae Community High School would be rebuilt elsewhere in Craigmillar and that the site could then be used for housing.

“Obviously, things have changed since then and a revised framework is currently being developed which will outline the changes that have occurred over this time and what the options are for the future of the area. No decision has been taken on the future of the school; this will only happen once consultation has been fully completed.”

The current roll at Castlebrae is the lowest in the city and just a third of its 600-pupil capacity.