Greens say Council runs risk of further false dawns over Portobello High School

Green councillors have warned that the Council runs the risk of raising and dashing expectations on Portobello High School, by committing to a “preferred” way forward to build on Portobello Park before it knows if that can legally be delivered.

Plans to build a new school on the park were thrown into disarray by a court judgement in September which determined that the Council could not currently legally build on the park.

At full Council today, the Greens sought to amend an interim report on the development of the school, to ensure that there is a proper appraisal of all options, including legal measures to build on the park and alternative sites.

Green education spokesperson, Cllr Melanie Main said:

“All councillors recognise the serious deficiencies of the current Portobello High School and everyone in the City Chambers wants to see a replacement school as soon as possible. Parents, young people and the community as a whole need certainty after many false dawns and expectations raised and dashed.

“The Council is not yet in a position to give that certainty.  It has only just begun the long process of overcoming legal barriers to building on Portobello Park. We do not yet know what ministers’ view is on a possible private Act of Parliament to allow that to happen.

“That’s why today I tabled an amendment to the Council report on Portobello HS calling for a full appraisal of all options.  Nothing in that precludes a school being built on the park nor would it delay eventual development.  But until we have that certainty and understand the risks I believe it is premature to talk about a “preferred option” to build on the park.  If we go ahead and build the school on the park then it must be because we have re-confirmed that it is the best site and, most importantly, we can be confident that we can actually deliver it.”