Objections to new Portobello High bill dismissed

Portobello Park, which is planned to be the site for a new Portobello High School. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Portobello Park, which is planned to be the site for a new Portobello High School. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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OBJECTIONS against construction of a long-awaited new Portobello High on protected green space have been dismissed by MSPs.

Education chiefs submitted a private bill to the Scottish Parliament last year to switch the legal status of Portobello Park and open it up as the site of a new school.

In a report published today, a four-strong committee of MSPs established to examine the Bill confirmed they had rejected objections presented during a series of evidence sessions.

The report states: “Having taken account of all the evidence, the committee is satisfied that the benefits of the proposal which the bill would allow to be taken forward, outweigh the disbenefits.”

The report - by Siobhan McMahon of Labour, James Dornan and Fiona McLeod of the SNP, and Liberal Democrat Alison McInnes - has been welcomed by city bosses.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “To anyone who has followed the Bill’s process through the Scottish Parliament, it is clear that the Committee have considered, in great detail, the arguments put forward both by the Council and objectors, listening to many hours of evidence and ensuring that everyone was given a fair opportunity to put their points across.

“I thank the Committee for their diligence and look forward to the next stage which will be the consideration of any proposed amendments to the Bill and then obviously the final vote in Parliament which will determine if the Bill does proceed.”

Initial proposals for the school stalled when the Court of Session ruled the site was “inalienable common good land”.

The council’s bill is aimed at changing the park’s status to “alienable” and opening it up for education-related development.

In January, ministers at the Scottish Parliament gave the bill’s general principles the green light.

Leaders at Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG), which is fighting the council’s plans, said they were aware of today’s report.