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.