PEOPLE from around the globe are joining the battle to save Westerton Primary School and protect the unique garden suburb.
Current and former residents of the conservation village fear that plans to close the school and build a new merged school on the playing fields will rip the heart out of the community and destroy its last remaining green space.
Protestors have gathered over 450 signatures for a petition against the council’s plans under its review of the primary school estate. And support for the plans to be abandoned and for the existing school to be re-built or refurbished on its current site has been pouring in from around the world.
Petition organiser Alison Stirling of North View, Westerton, said: “We have been amazed by the global response to our campaign. Westerton holds a special place in the hearts of so many residents past and present. We learned of this consultation only a few weeks ago, but since then the support for Westerton has been both heartening and affirming.”
David Holmes from Newtown in Pennsylvania said: “Westerton was my home when growing up. I went to school at Westerton primary, played football on the fields and tennis at the local courts, this community spirit should be maintained and not destroyed.”
The unique Garden Suburb was built in 1913, to be a place of greenery and refuge for city workers. Houses were built in the Arts and Crafts style and it remains the only suburb of its kind in Scotland.
Locals fear that a new large school would put massive pressure on the roads especially Maxwell Avenue.
Resident Barbara Macleod said: “In order to build a new super school on the site of the hall and green space the council would have to break its own planning guidelines about building in a conservation area, not to mention traffic, environmental and local plan policies.”
Gayle Halperin from New York City said; “Westerton is an experiment that succeeded beautifully. 100 years after its inception, it is still beautifully maintained and cherished by those who live there.”
The council’s informal consultation about the plans to merge school across the area has been met with fierce criticism, with claims from some that the choices in the questionnaire are too limited and don’t allow people to vote for the status quo.
The petition can been seen at
www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/chief-executive-east-dunbartonshire-council-save-scotland-s-only-arts-and-crafts-garden-suburb. The campaign website is www.savewesterton.org
SAVE WESTERTON . . . nine-year-old Jessica Wilson holds a banner to protest about plans to build a new school on the playing fields in Westerton. She is with petition organiser Alsion Stirling, her grandmother Doreen Wilson and Karen Mackinnon with her seven-month-old daughter Grace. (Ref: m30215)n Picture: EMMA MITCHELL