Parents plea for shared site

St Joseph's Primary, protest march through Milngavie.
St Joseph's Primary, protest march through Milngavie.

Parents fighting to save St Joseph’s Primary School from closure have expressed shock at the council’s plan for a community hub in Milngavie.

Their surprise is because they say they submitted similar proposals to East Dunbartonshire councillors a year ago.

The council has had plans for a £4 million community hub to be built in Milngavie for several years, but they have yet to decide the location.

Parents are urging them to look again at their idea to use the St Joseph’s site for a community hub, with a new library and improved sports facilities to benefit the whole community.

They say East Dunbartonshire is the only local authority in Scotland not to have any schools with a shared campus or community services on site.

Helen Williams, vice-chair of St Joseph’s Parent Council, said: “St Joseph’s Primary has been at the heart of the Milngavie community for well over 100 years and we want to stay where we belong.

“A shared campus or a community hub would be a very popular option for the whole of Milngavie because it brings with it the opportunity to develop new sports facilities, a baby clinic or a new library on a single site.

“East Dunbartonshire Council should listen to what the community wants.

“Councillors have this wonderful site close to the town centre with extensive facilities, including much needed football pitches, which should be utilised. I would urge them to consider the excellent proposals offered.”

Paula Speirs, a St Joseph’s parent and management consultant, said: “There are alternative options available to councillors that will provide an affordable and sustainable solution, whilst at the same time enabling them to boost services across the whole community of Milngavie.”

Gordon Currie, the council’s director of education and children’s services, said: “We have unconditional consent from Scottish Ministers for a new £9 million denominational school in Bearsden to serve the school communities of St Andrew’s and St Joseph’s, and work has already commenced on the design.

“The council committed in 2011 to provide a community hub in Milngavie and our 10 year capital investment plan contains a £4,050,000 allocation towards the provision of it.

“No site has yet been identified for the new building and work has yet to commence on the detailed specification. However, we do not believe that the St Joseph’s site would be a suitable location for a community hub.

“In our opinion it is neither financially sustainable nor central to the community it would be serving.

“The principles applied across the council for community hubs are they are intended for town centre locations to provide easy access to services for all users. St Joseph’s is not in such a location.”