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Edinburgh school construction given approval

Edinburgh school construction given approval
The construction of a new school in Edinburgh has been approved by the city's councillors but still faces opposition from a local campaign group.

Portobello High School is set to be situated in a 5.7 hectare section of the Scottish capital's Portobello Park but it has faced criticism by the Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG). The authority has been taken to court by the organisation over claims that the council has no right to build on the site.

The project is currently five months behind schedule but the City of Edinburgh Council has said that it could be open by January 2014 if the legal action is brought to an end, however if it continues it could push the opening date back to August of that year.

PPAG claim that the council has no right to build on common good land and after losing its case at the Court of Session it has lodged an appeal, which the council fears will put the construction start date back further, depriving pupils of the new facility even longer. The proceedings have already cost the authority £75,000 and councillors are hoping that a resolution is met soon so that building work can get underway.

Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, said: "We are extremely disappointed that PPAG is continuing to oppose our plans. Their recent argument now seems to be that we have the power to sell this land with the court's approval, but not to appropriate it to build the school, even with court approval. This is an argument which is very difficult to accept or understand."

Portobello High School currently stands at Duddingston Road, just a stones throw from the proposed future site. It's eight-floor design is becoming outdated and the council is keen to move pupils to the new site as quickly as possible, but believes it is being hindered by the PPAG's continued objections to the construction.

Ms MacLaren added: "The appeal by PPAG is now the only obstacle to the school being built at the earliest opportunity and I would urge them to see reason and drop the appeal."

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Date: 01/05/2012 16:29:27

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