Plans submitted to create community park in Portobello

Groups of trees and bouldering areas feature in plans for the park
Groups of trees and bouldering areas feature in plans for the park
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PLANS to create a new community park on the site of the former Portobello High School have been submitted to planning chiefs.

The 2.5-hectare space – which was home to the school from 1963 to 2017 – is set to be given a new lease of life as a green space after final design proposals were submitted to City of Edinburgh Council this week.

Pupils moved into the new Portobello High School in ­October 2016 after several years of delays.

Taking its name from ancient records of the area, Treverlen Park will provide a “vibrant” outdoor space, according to the developers behind the project.

The £1 million project will also provide a link between the newly renovated St John’s RC Primary School – but locals will have to wait until demolition is completed on the previous building before work on the new site can begin.

According to the design concept for the new park, located on Duddingston Road, it will feature a mixture of “built and natural features”, while an artist’s impression shows several climbing areas.

It continues: “The park design consists of open space augmented by two tree roundels – a group of trees in a ring – including clearings within which active play is accommodated.”

Early plans for the site also promised a Scots pine urban forest, wildflower meadow and “boulder play area”, with learning space for St John’s including climbing frames and an outdoor classroom.

The historic 18th century school gates are also set to be retained and reappropriated as part of the new front entrance to the park, with additional steel signage attached.

The Treverlen name has been revived from the original record of the Duddingston Village estate, which was gifted to the Abbot of Kelso by David I of Scotland in the 12th century. In the land grant document, the area is referred to as “Treverlen”, meaning “place of the learned men or women” in ancient Celtic language.

The name was chosen by the Duddingston and Craigentinny neighbourhood partnership after public consultation and a “landslide” vote.

Clara Garriga, the associate director of architectural firm Holmes Miller, said reactions to the design had already been “extremely positive”.

She added: “We have a while to wait before work can start, but we have made a lot of good progress on the site already.

“The first part of the project is to create an access route for St John’s Primary once the old building is demolished.

“After that, we can begin on creating the vision put forward by the local residents and ­making this a real community space for the people of Duddingston and Portobello to enjoy.”

The £11m development of the new St John’s Primary School site is now expected to be completed in the spring of 2018, with work on the new park currently scheduled to get under way during the summer months.