Porty High Update

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 @ 6:24PM

Every week, the Parliament has something called General Questions and it’s usually the 20 mins before First Minister’s Questions. It works on a sort of ballot or raffle system in the sense that you can only table a question if your name is pulled out of the hat. This week was my lucky week and I chose to ask the Government about the future of Portobello High School. The detail of the exchange is below.

I also have a number of Parliamentary Questions in the system and have letters into Government Ministers awaiting a response. Once I have received responses, which should be in the next couple of days, I will seek to contact everyone who has been in touch about Portobello High School with a more fullsome report of what I’ve been doing recently to make the school on the park a reality as soon as possible. If you’d like a copy of that update and haven’t been in touch already, sign up here.

Portobello High School

3. Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Government whether it has had discussions with the City of Edinburgh Council regarding the future of Portobello high school. (S4O-01418)

The Minister for Local Government and Planning (Derek Mackay): The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth and I have offered to meet council representatives to discuss possible options, work through next steps and consider what appropriate support the Scottish Government can provide to assist the City of Edinburgh Council to fulfil its responsibilities.

Kezia Dugdale: Will the minister clarify whether he is looking at the power to advance wellbeing in those discussions? Can he assure my constituents, who have a deep sense of anger and disappointment that the school has yet again been delayed, that the Government will do everything that it can to see the new Portobello high school built on the park as soon as possible?

Derek Mackay: I thank the member for the constructive tone in which she asked the question. The SNP Government is outcome focused. We will work to try to deliver the aspirations of the City of Edinburgh Council, and its preferred site is indeed the park. The problem has come about because of a legal determination. We will work through the options.

The exploratory consultation on the community empowerment and renewal bill covers the issue of common good land, but it might not be timeous enough to give rise to a solution to this particular issue.

I guarantee that the Government will be proactive and take a constructive approach to the meeting with the City of Edinburgh Council. I am informed that it has been scheduled for 13 November. I will be happy to update the member on the outcome of those discussions.

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