Row over park site for new Chryston Primary School building

editorial image

A consultation on a new building for Chryston Primary School has attracted a wide range of views.

North Lanarkshire Council is currently weighing its options with regard to replacing the school.

The level of demand for places means the current school is no longer considered fit for purpose.

To this end it ran a public consultation, offering people the opportunity to write in with their opinions or attend information meetings.

Muirhead resident Hugh Rae said: “At one of the consultation meetings in Chryston High School it was clear that the vast majority of the 180 people there did not want anything built on their park, although it was acknowledged that we did need a new school.

“We were also told that the park had been deemed surplus to requirements by the council.”

In its reponse to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, the council stated the park had not been declared surplus to requirements.

Mr Rae added: “I have no doubt that events surrounding the whole consultation process are to say the very least dubious with a conscious decision having been taken to go ahead with the build no matter what.

“On the night of the consultation meeting in October, Chryston parent council had a parents’ evening at the same time but in a separate part of the school buildings, and on the door they were giving out consultation forms to parents as they entered the building.

“Not illegal I grant you, but obviously to influence people.

“North Lanarkshire council have already started removing equipment from the play park.

“Emails have already been circulated telling the Parent council that the school will get the go ahead. £70,000 has already been earmarked to provide play equipment in the adjacent Moore park.

“Plans are already being drawn up for a two storey school building with 200 parking spaces.

“The roads surrounding the proposed new school are already dangerous due to the traffic on them when kids are being picked up and dropped off at Chryston high school.

A council spokesman said: “The consultation report on the proposal to build a new Chryston Primary School will be discussed at a meeting of the Education and Families committee on Tuesday, May 21.”

The papers for this meeting, including the consultation report, can now be downloaded from the council’s website.

The most commonly raised points are that the current school is not fit for purpose, traffic concerns, timescales and the size and location of the proposed school.

The council confirmed that the current school is unable to cope with its growing levels of demand.

The planning process would include traffic assessments to ensure the impact of the new school is managed as effectively as possible, and walking routes will also be scrutinized.

Depending on the size of the new school, it would take up to 15 months to construct.

Although the new school would result in the loss of green space, there is another green space site within 300 metres and the council has committed to enhancing the facilities at this site.

Of the reponses, 83 per cent were in favour of the proposals.  The council received 426 written responses during its consultation, two thirds of which were from parents or carers of current or future pupils at the school.