Labour councillors slam SNP for attempt to abandon plans for Gorebridge High School

Wednesday February 28th 2024

midlothian house council chamber

Midlothian Council chamber.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Labour councillors have condemned Midlothian Council’s SNP administration for trying to abandon plans to build a new High School in Gorebridge as well as much needed upgrades to a number of other local Primary schools including Newtongrange and King’s Park Primary Schools.

A paper presented to Council on Tuesday, refers to an “agreed set of changes” which removes these projects from the Councils plans.

Labour Councillors were dismissive of attempts by Councillor Ellen Scott (SNP), Cabinet Member for Education, for suggesting that these projects were not “removed”, but “re-scheduled”.

Labour Group Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan made it clear that the word “removed” means just what it says. He asked officers to confirm that these projects no longer appear on any Council plans that go up to 2028. This was confirmed.

Councillor Kelly Drummond who represents Gorebridge and Newtongrange, where two of these abandoned projects are located, slammed the SNP administration for its attempt to mislead the public.

“People in Gorebridge have campaigned for many years for a new Gorebridge High School and were encouraged when, around 5 years ago, the new school was added to the councils plans by the previous Labour Administration. Now their hopes have been dashed by this attempt by the SNP to remove it. The SNP can dress this up as much as it likes, but they are abandoning the people of Gorebridge and Newtongrange if they are successful in scrapping these projects.

“For years every SNP leaflet in this area has promised a new High School for Gorebridge and now, after less than 2 years in charge of the Council, the SNP are intent on ditching this.

“At the same time, the SNP Administration are supporting pressing ahead with the building of a new high school including new community facilities and a £10m swimming pool at Easter Bush, despite the costs for this increasing dramatically from its original estimate 2019 of around 41m to over £120m.

“It seems to me that the people of Newtongrange and Gorebridge are paying the price for this.”

Later at the private part of the meeting, Labour Councillors successfully secured a pause on a final decision until Councillors have been given a full report on all the Council’s capital projects, which they believe should have been provided before any projects were considered for removal.

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