Traders back fight to save schools

Milngavie Precinct, traders angy at the closure of Milngavie schools'Jim Gibbons, Pauline MacAloney,Rona Miller and Ian Lavrie'Photo Emma Mitchell'21/1/13
Milngavie Precinct, traders angy at the closure of Milngavie schools'Jim Gibbons, Pauline MacAloney,Rona Miller and Ian Lavrie'Photo Emma Mitchell'21/1/13

TRADERS in Milngavie have thrown their weight behind the campaign to save St Joseph’s and Milngavie primary schools from the axe.

They argue that the closure of the schools would rip the heart out of the community and have devastating consequences for the town centre.

Eileen Bannerman, who owns ‘Besotted’ gift shop, told the Herald: “I think the village will die without the schools. It will lose its heart.”

Both primaries have healthy rolls and as they are near the village centre many children walk to school through the village.

And when they go home, just after 3pm, it is one of the busiest times of the day for many businesses.

Ian Lavrie, head of Milngavie Traders Association, wants East Dunbartonshire Council to consider the impact on the whole community when it looks at the future of education.

He said: “My initial thoughts are obviously in the interests of the kids.

“They should come first, but I think there is a wider issue.

“These school closures would have a very detrimental effect on the centre.

“The footfall we get during school week mornings and afternoons is considerable and to lose that would have a very detrimental effect on the village.

“Many businesses would suffer quite considerably.

“Insufficient consideration has gone into the council’s suggestions and they must look at this again, not just on an educational basis, but on a wider scale and what impact it would have on the community in general throughout Milngavie.”

Mrs Bannerman added: “I think it would put Milngavie in a very precarious position, because you naturally get young mums, children and grandmothers in the village at certain times of the day either to drop children off or pick them up from school.

“I think it is essential the schools stay open for the continuation of the village.

“We need the new generation of children to shop in the village.”

Elaine Foil, from Foils hair salon, said: “The situation is bad enough now without adding to it.

“We are all doing everything we can to fight to stay here.

“Just after 3pm we have kids and mothers coming in to get their hair done. For my business this is incredibly important.”

Gilbert McVean, owner of the Iron Chef, said: “The high street is already struggling against online shopping and supermarkets.

“The loss of footfall would mean that shops would consider their position with regard to renewing leases etc.

“Our peak periods are from quarter-to-nine to half-past-nine and again from half-past-two to half-past-three in the afternoon.”

Graham Wilson owner of Creature Comforts pet shop, said: “The proposed closures would definitely have an impact on us. We would certainly lose business.”

“Three o’clock is a busy point in the day that we look forward to.

“If the schools close we would need to consider our position when lease renewals were coming up. Parents and children are very much our customer base.”