Portobello Park school plans: Holyrood official in row over conflict of interest

Herald Sunday 22 June 2014

A top Holyrood official is embroiled in a conflict of interest row over controversial plans to build a school in an Edinburgh park.

Andrew Mylne, the head of the Parliament’s non-executive bills unit (NEBU), advised Edinburgh council about its legislative proposals for Portobello Park and met opponents of the plan.

However, a campaign group has made a formal complaint as Mylne lives in the area and has children in the school catchment.
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Victory in Dumbarton – Posties Park saved!

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Dumbarton Reporter

COUNCILLORS have voted today (Wednesday) to look at alternative sites for a new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High school (OLSP).

HEATED: Terry Lanagan, director of education, addresses protestors outside the Denny Civic Theatre

At a packed meeting of the education services meeting, held at the Denny Civic Theatre in Dumbarton, a motion was carried calling for Posties Park and the current site to be rejected and for all potential locations to be re-visited.

Officers have now been tasked with revisiting all alternative sites in council ownership and exploring what private sites might be available should this be required.

The motion was supported by both Labour and the SNP – to the delight of Save Posties Park campaigners.

It read: “The committee will continue to work with all stakeholders to identify a suitable site for a new OLSP and ensure that we maximise the funding opportunity provided by the Scottish Futures Trust.”

Afterwards jubilant campaigner, Dorothy Heron, joint secretary of Dumbarton East and Central Community Council, told the Reporter: “I’m absolutely delighted and I have to commend the committee, I’m relieved that they have come to this decision and they have to be congratulated for it.

“It was a difficult decision for the councillors to make because now they have the task of finding a new suitable piece of land but I am confident that they will.

“We are so pleased that they have taken the public view into account, it shows it is a democratic council.

“I thank the campaigners and the public for their support over the last few months.

“It’s a terrific example of Dumbarton’s community spirit and the power of the people.”

Speaking afterwards, Councillor Michelle McGinty, convener of Educational Services, said: “We agree with Council officers that the Posties Park site is the best option available in Dumbarton on educational and construction grounds.

“However we take decisions on behalf of the people of West Dunbartonshire and had to acknowledge the lack of support for the building of the school on Posties Park, as well as the strong public desire to retain the open space.

“Regrettably the current school site has also proved unsuitable. The full exploration of that site showed that it was extremely restrictive and would be difficult to develop safely without major disruption to pupils educational experience.

“A completed school on this site would also be an inferior establishment relative to the other new build secondary schools in West Dunbartonshire.

“We thank officers for their professional work to date on this project, and look forward to hearing the results of their new investigations into possible Council and private sites where the new OLSP High School could be located.”

A public consultation on the new school sites received 515 responses, with 185 opting for the current site, 149 for Posties Park and 176 other responses – of which 123 were opposed to Posties.

Scotland’s landed elite and its sense of entitlement

We are Scotland’s 2500 landowners. We own the land (well 75% of Scotland).

Our response to the Land Reform Review Group is that we don’t want land reform and we don’t need it. This is our land and we want to keep it that way. As Andy in Germany points out in comments, Germany had land reform and the sky didn’t fall in. The same goes for Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden, Dennmark etc.

A quite amazing PR video.

Scottish Land and Estates full submission to Land Reform Review Group.

Land and Freedom 1813 – 2013

By Andy Wightman

Oxfam has launched a major campaign on food security – Enough Food for Everyone.  It aims to reach 20 million people across the UK and to persuade the UK Government to deliver a better deal for the world’s poor during its presidency of the G8. As part of the campaign, Oxfam is highlighting the role that Scotland should play in tackling hunger and on 4 March it is hosting a conference in Helmsdale  to highlight the parallels between the Highland Clearances that took place 200 years ago in Sutherland and the land grabs that continue to deprive people of access to land in developing countries. Continue reading

George Square – Back to Square One

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Back to Square One (January 22, 2013)
The George Square situation has moved quickly since Friday (18th Jan) morning. Design 2 for the square’s redesign by John McAslan & Partners was picked by the competition jury, only for it to be announced that there was to be a ‘facelift’ for the square instead.
This facelift according to Gordon Matheson will involve the retention of the statues and the remaining greenspace in the east of the square. Continue reading

Land Action Scotland

“Time is ripe for revolution when the masses of people won’t act for change but won’t strongly oppose those who do.”
Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, 1971.

It’s time to challenge landed power and mount a campaign of positive action for land reform. We will be launching a number of actions over the coming months and to kick off we plan to help the people of the Isle of Bute and Applecross to take control of the land. Please join us. www.landaction.org.uk