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Revised proposals for primary-schools provision in Airdrie
New suggestions to create two joint campuses covering five Airdrie primaries will be put to parents and residents for their feedback.
The revised proposal for building new schools would still see Dunrobin and Petersburn merge, this time occupying a new joint campus with St Dominic’s; while another dual building housing St Edward’s and Tollbrae would be constructed on land at those schools’ existing adjacent sites.
“It’s about the council having listened.”
It was developed after North Lanarkshire councillors agreed to go back to the drawing board over an unpopular previous plan for the five schools, which would have seen St Dominic’s and St Edward’s amalgamate, at a Craigneuk Park joint campus with Tollbrae.
Parents are now to be asked for their views in an “informal consultation” this month, with a view to the plans then being put out for formal statutory feedback in the new year.
Learning and leisure convener Jim Logue says the new configuration was developed using counter-suggestions made by parents during the earlier consultation, and added: “It’s about the council having listened.”
He said, “Parents at St Edward’s and Tollbrae raised concerns about children having to cross the A73 to Craigneuk, and they wanted schools to stay in Gartlea; and it was the same for St Dominic’s, who wanted to remain in the Petersburn community.
“These options were raised during the consultation process, so our engineers have looked at them and there’s mileage in what the parents are saying and scope to build joint campuses on these sites.
“We’re saying there are valid points here, and now we want to sit down with parent councils and look at the merits and demerits of each from the perspective of education professionals and families before potentially going out for formal consultation.”
The St Dominic’s and amalgamated Dunrobin/Petersburn campus would be built at the existing Dunrobin site and accommodate up to 700 pupils.
Councillor Logue said: “Petersburn and Dunrobin are very close and it makes sense to bring them together, and St Dominic’s wanted to be in that area.
“It’s a tight site and could be a challenge to accommodate a significant number of pupils, but the size of the schools can be increased and the access changed to allow for it.
“New schools also deliver improved community facilities as we want them to be used at weekends and holidays and to provide quality leisure spaces, and I think communities in Petersburn and Gartlea will be delighted over the improved facilities to be built there.”
The Airdrie Central representative added of the Schools and Centres 21 review: “We’re too often told that consultations are ‘just paper exercises’ – this is a clear example of how we’ve engaged with the community, listened and thought about what’s been said.
“Efficiency savings were going to be made from the previous proposal, but it isn’t just about money. Sometimes there are difficult decisions but we’ve engaged with residents, and two brand-new joint campuses in the south of Airdrie is tremendous for residents.
“This plan has distinct advantages that the previous one didn’t, such as obviating the need for children to cross Carlisle Road with its traffic issues.”
Council officials hope to conduct the informal discussions by the end of the year; a potential timetable could then see the plans go out for formal consultation by February, a decision made by the start of the new school year next August and, if approved, new buildings open in December 2016 or by the following Easter.