John McLellan: Bid to save old St John’s Primary building is too late

An artist's impression of what Treverlen Park will look like
An artist's impression of what Treverlen Park will look like
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A very belated head of steam seemed to be gathering behind a last-ditch attempt to halt the demolition of the old St John’s Primary school now that its replacement on the site of the old Portobello High is up and running.

The old 1925 building, the first purpose-built Catholic primary after the Church’s schools passed to state ownership in 1918, is due to make way for the new Treverlen Park as part of the arrangements to replace open space lost when the new high school was built on Portobello Park.

It is a fine-looking school, designed by the same architects as the Royal High Primary, although a consultation at the time of the planning process threw up only eight objections to its demolition.

But recently suggestions have emerged that it could be retained, either as a base for arts companies from the Edinburgh Palette to replace St Margaret’s House or perhaps a facility for homeless people.

READ MORE: Plans submitted to create community park in Portobello

The Northfield & Willowbrae community council heard last week that 400 signatures in support of retention had already been gathered, but some quick enquiries soon revealed that the demolition contracts have all been signed, extensive stripping out work has already been carried out and utilities have been disconnected.

Given the sudden U-turn on the sale of the Westbank Street five-a-side pitches, perhaps enough people thought another council change of heart was possible, but sadly it’s too late to reverse the decision.

READ MORE: St John’s Primary pupils are building fun times