Campaigners set to hold hustings

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St Joseph’s parents have invited all the Westminster candidates in East Dunbartonshire to take part in an election hustings in Milngavie.

They plan to hold the event, which will be chaired by journalist Kevin McKenna, on April 20 in St Joseph’s Church Hall.

Parent, Andrew MacFadyen said: “This announcement comes at a time when East Dunbartonshire Council’s recent development plan has revealed fears of a shortage of school places in Bearsden and Milngavie, and warns that new housing may not be approved due to capacity issues.

“Despite this they are trying to push through the unpopular closure of St Joseph’s Primary School in Milngavie.”

St Joseph’s parent council vice chair Helen Williams said: “East Dunbartonshire Council’s left hand does not know what its right hand is doing.

“The hustings will give us an opportunity to put all the candidates on the spot and ask them what they are going to do to support us.

St Joseph’s parent Paula Speirs said: “Education is a really important issue in the election and we need to know where all the candidates stand on the future of St Joseph’s before we vote.”

Chief education officer, Jacqueline MacDonald, said: “The education service was consulted during the drafting of the local development plan and helped inform this particular section.

“This paragraph reflects that some schools and nurseries in Bearsden and Milngavie are operating at very high occupancy (over 90 per cent) and there is a high demand for places. Where there is potential for new housing in these catchment areas, it is right to highlight the position.

“There is not the same pressure in the denominational schools with St Andrew’s at 65 per cent occupancy and St Joseph’s 45 per cent occupied.

“Developer contributions are a common part of planning applications for all councils – not only for schools, also roads and developments.”