Cllr Paul Godzik reflects on the outcome of consultation on the new Portobello High School

There has never been any doubt that Portobello High School should be replaced, but opinion has been divided on whether it should be built on Portobello Park.    The outcome of the consultation we have just carried out shows that more than three quarters of the local population want the school to be built on the park and support our endeavours to this end.

This is an issue which has seen the level of public interest grow steadily over the years; sadly, as a result of the delays that have beset the project. The twelve thousand responses we received are testament to this and how strongly the city as a whole feels about the need for the new school.

I have always believed that if we wish to provide staff, students and the wider community with the first class facilities they deserve that only Portobello Park can meet this need.  Anecdotal feedback has always suggested there was strong support for our proposals and I am pleased that this has been confirmed. The response was overwhelming and with 75 per cent of the Portobello public and 70 per cent of people across the city backing our plans we truly have a public mandate to take a Private Bill to the Scottish Parliament.  

Very often politicians are accused of not listening to public opinion but in this case we have heard loud and clear that people believe the education of children must be given the highest priority and people recognise that this is more important than the loss of a small area of green space.   Many people who responded rightly highlighted the importance of green space to the community.  They also went on to say, and I agree,  that the new community facilities both within the school and in the new park will be a positive replacement and would be of greater benefit to the community than the existing park.

Taking a Private Bill to the Scottish Parliament is not a step that is taken lightly but I am confident that when MSPs hear the views expressed by Edinburgh’s citizens they will support our proposals and Portobello pupils will receive the school they rightly deserve. 

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