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Stadium Bosses Under Fire
Excelsior Stadium bosses have come under fire for charging North Lanarkshire Council £100 a-day to use their car park as a pick-up point following the fire that destroyed St Dominic’s Primary School.
The school was burned down in March and, after the Easter holidays, pupils took up a temporary, but long-term, home at St Margaret’s High.
More than 200 youngsters from the primary and nursery now catch the school bus from the stadium car park, with morning and afternoon transport provided by the council.
However, stadium bosses have been criticised after it emerged they have charged North Lanarkshire Council a sum in excess of £12,000 — £500 each school week — since the arrangement began on April 20th.
One disgruntled mum, who did not wish to be named, said: “The parents all feel outraged at this and are seeking answers from the owners and the council, as this charge seems completely unreasonable to us.”
The charge has been levied for the council-run buses using the stadium grounds as a pick-up point and for parents using the car park to drop off kids during peak school hours.
A spokesperson for the stadium company said that the charges are being used to help cover the “stadium’s very high running costs”.
However, Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services, described the charge as “disappointing” for a company “which claims to have the community at its heart”.
Mr Logue also concedes the council’s hands are tied, with “limited options for suitable alternative pick-up points”.
The new school being built to replace St Dominic’s is still years from completion, which means the council will have to fork out around £20,000 each year to use the stadium’s car park.
Councillor Logue said: “It’s disappointing that the stadium company, which claims to have the community at heart, is charging us for using their car park — especially at times when the facilities aren’t being used.
“There are limited options for suitable alternative pick up points and the safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils is paramount. In the aftermath of the fire, pupils, parents, teachers and other council staff have all rallied together to make the best of a very challenging situation.
“The arrangements we’ve put in place have minimised the disruption to the pupils’ education, and the arrangements with St Margaret’s have gone well. And we’re grateful for the support we’ve enjoyed from so many people to make this a success.”
A spokesperson for the stadium company commented: “Excelsior Stadium provides services to a number of local individuals and businesses. The charges for these arrangements are commercial and confidential and will remain so, but ultimately these charges are used to cover the stadium’s very high running costs.
“Excelsior Stadium provides complimentary services to Craigneuk community group meetings, the Craigneuk kids Christmas party, local political group meetings, the Airdrie Supporters’ Trust and a number of other local individuals and organisations.
“We will continue to blend our commercial and community endeavours in a balanced way and also in a way that will keep the local stadium on a sustainable financial footing.”