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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It has been announced today that MSPs have decided to put the Portobello Park private bill, which seeks to circumvent the ruling by three senior judges of the Court of Session prohibiting the development of Portobello park or any other inalienable common good land, to the vote on 26 June. This comes as no surprise – evidence sessions were cut short, not all objections were heard, not all questions were answered but, such is the desperation to railroad this bill through, the objections of more than 500 people and many others have been swept to one side. The council has declined to make the “new park” part of the bill, despite the fact that it was suggested by PPAG and one of the bill committee. A clear indication that they have no intention of creating one and conveniently there is no mechanism for the parliament to call the council to account if (when) they do not follow through on their promises. There will be a “debate” in parliament on 26 June but we know already how the vote will go as many MSPs without knowing anything about the issues stated their intention to support the bill way back before it was even lodged. The merits or otherwise of the bill have not been properly scrutinised and a political decision has been taken. Never mind that it puts all common good land across Scotland at risk.

Please e-mail your constituency and list MSPs now and ask them to vote “NO” to the bill.