School closure sparks community concerns

Community councillors are worried about the impact of the Auchinairn Primary closure
Community councillors are worried about the impact of the Auchinairn Primary closure

Closing a primary school and merging it with another will rip the heart out of the community - that’s the view of a community council.

Members of Bishopbriggs Community Council have been left angry at East Dunbartonshire Council’s controversial decision to shut Auchinairn Primary and merge it with Woodhill Primary, with a new school on the Woodhill site.

The group invited the six local councillors - four of whom are part of the council’s administration - to their meeting last week to let them know their views and question them over the decision.

Parents have led a campaign against the mergers.

Dominic Notarangelo, chairman of the community council, said: “The majority of people don’t want Auchinairn Primary to disappear. To close a school, you are saying to that community that they no longer exist. The local businesses will become marginal in terms of economic activity because of the closure of the school.”

Auchinairn resident John Semple also criticised the decision.

He said: “With the kids going to the school, money is spent by parents in local shops. But with no focal point businesses will fade away.”

SNP councillor Anne McNair, who voted against the merger, criticised the consultation.

She said: “The council did a complete U-turn when it came to Bearsden because of the public outcry. But when there is opposition in Bishopbriggs the decision is still taken to merge the schools. What is the point in doing a consultation?”

Fellow SNP councillor Gordan Low said: “Auchinairn is an area that’s supposed to be targeted for regeneration. They should be listening to what the people are saying.”

Labour councillor Alan Moir said the council is facing financial restraints and difficult decisions have to be made.

He added: “It’s acknowledged by most people that we have a problem with under capacity in schools right across East Dunbartonshire.

“We are in a set of circumstances when some really difficult decisions need to be made.”

Labour councillor Michael O’Donnell said: “Auchinairn is under capacity and people have made choices to send their children to other schools. There are groups that use the school and there will be a facility on that site to ensure these services continue and are developed.”