Legality of Council drive for new primary school is brought into question

East End primary school - parent council forced publication of letter questioning legality of new school move
East End primary school – parent council forced publication of letter questioning legality of new school move

MORAY COUNCILLORS HAVE been warned that their proposals to build a new primary school on the south east of Elgin could be challenged in court.

Following representations by the East End Primary School Parent Council, Moray Council published a letter they had received from the agents for Pitgaveny Estates prior to their making proposals for a new school and, in the meantime, accommodating pupils at East End.

The letter calls on Moray Council to scrap their plans, saying that the school was being built in the wrong part of Elgin and saying that they had presented “a clear case for an alternative approach for the whole of Elgin” which was much less costly to the Council Tax payer.

Pitgaveny go on to warn the local authority that their proposal could leave the council “vulnerable to a legal challenge”.

Moray Council insist that population pressures in the south of Elgin were strong enough to create a new primary school there – but Pitgaveny has called on them to reconsider, saying that most recent figures pointed to the main demand for housing and, consequently, new education provision being to the north of Elgin.

Provision is already being made for a new primary school as part of the development of 1500 homes at Findrassie to the north of the city.

The letter goes on to point up “the lack of acknowledgement” in the Council report on the new school in the south-east of Elgin that plans were in place for a school to be created at Findrassie.

In the letter, Pitgaveny Estates’ agent says: “The principal and the location of this new school to the north has been discussed and agreed with Education representatives on the Council’s Working Group for Findrassie.

“These were the same people who wrote the current report and are therefore fully aware of the Findrassie school. We trust that this omission of a school in the north will be remedied before going to consultation.”

However, despite the letter being brought to the attention of Councillors when deliberating their decision to consult over the new school in the south-east of Elgin, consultations went ahead with the content of the letter only becoming public knowledge after a copy was requested by the East End parent council.

A spokesman for Moray Council said: “There is a housing needs assessment report being considered by councillors in April, which may assist the debate. However, there is sufficient pressure from population in the south of Elgin to warrant a new school in that part of town.”

The letter on behalf of Pitgaveny Estates can be found online.