Edinburgh council makes school cash plea to Nicola Sturgeon

Edinburgh Council is urging Scottish Government ministers to help solve a looming new cash crisis after it revealed the city faces a £60 million shortfall for essential repairs to its buildings.

Friday, 1st December 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:47 am
Currie Community High School parents and kids who will be effected by the council school proposals

An audit into the condition of sites under the council’s care including schools, museums and galleries show 44 are not fit for purpose.

Closure threatened Currie High alone needs a costly £6.8m upgrade.

And with the cost of bringing all of the buildings up to standard in the next five years estimated at £153.5m, the cash-strapped council will reach out to the government for help,

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Council leader Adam McVey said: ”I am very well aware of the magnitude of the challenge we are facing and that many of our properties require significant investment to bring them up to either a good or satisfactory standard.

“We will be applying to the Scottish Government for additional funding in specific areas like our schools to help us provide the level of investment required.

“Our property team is also continually working on an asset rationalisation programme to ensure that all of our buildings are fully utilised.”

It comes as the council announced controversial plans to merge Currie and Wester Hailes Education Centre after a survey revealed both schools and Balerno High would need major improvement works or to be replaced in coming years.

Investment in upgrades to WHEC would cost the council £4.26m.

During the inspection each building was graded from A-D depending on their condition – A being good, B satisfactory, C poor and D bad.

Seven depots were graded D in the survey and are undergoing a programme of replacement.

Another 37 sites were identified as being in a poor condition.

The remaining 799 buildings under the council’s care are considered to be in a good or satisfactory condition.

The estate survey, which did not include the council’s housing stock, has identified key areas of improvement such as replacing a mechanical and electrical services and roof works.

But Cllr McVey maintained that any buildings that pose a serious safety risk would be addressed immediately: “All local authorities are facing extremely challenging times. 
“We have a strategy to help us to ensure that we are making the best possible use of all our buildings and we are prioritising maintenance to provide a fit-or-purpose, right-sized and safe estate wherever we can.

“I would also like to reassure residents that any issues identified with our estate that pose a health and safety risk would, of course, be rectified immediately.”