Councillor accuses council of keeping new school location secret

Thursday July 15th 2021

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council held a meeting in private to decide on a new location for the long awaited replacement for Beeslack High School. The council has previously consulted on a location near the A701.

SNP Councillor for the Midlothian West ward, Kelly Parry said:

“The Council put forward a last minute site at a private meeting and given the geographical change in site I feel local communities should have had a direct say.

“The ‘new’ location means a 40 minute walk for some Loanhead children and the need to navigate not one but two major A roads. Young people from Roslin will also have to cross the A701 and add an extra half a mile onto their journey.

“The decision should have been a public one, however the council pulled it from the public agenda at the last minute citing confidentiality issues, despite it having been on the website for the previous three days.

“The community should be allowed to have some say on this matter, and should have been part of this conversation and decision making process.

“I have been effectively legally silenced by the Council on the new location and its very frustrating. The whole process has lacked democratic scrutiny, sadly that is becoming all to frequent an issue in Midlothian Council.”

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A Midlothian Council spokesman explained to Midlothian View that the decision was taken in private because of commercially sensitive information about costs of the land. He added:

“Councillors have now agreed a preferred site. Local people will be consulted as part of the planning process and indeed they will later also have the chance to help shape the school’s design and development.

“We’ll also be carrying out a statutory education consultation on the proposed relocation of Beeslack High School to this site and consult at the same time on the proposed changes to the catchment areas of Beeslack, Lasswade & Penicuik High Schools.”

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