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Talk Porty ~ Portobello • View topic - New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Discussion and debate on the issues affecting Portobello

Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Mark Cameron » 14 Sep 2012, 12:43

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Mark Cameron » 14 Sep 2012, 12:58

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby fresian » 14 Sep 2012, 13:50

sounds like the best option
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Pal of Porty » 14 Sep 2012, 13:56

If we are going to aquire the Park through something like an act of Parliament then I think we should stop pussyfooting around and really build a flagship school that has everything. This means aquiring the entire grassland area including the golf course, which in all honesty, was by far and away the best site for the new PHS in the first place - but thought to be unobtainable. The design could include multi use rugby, hockey and football pitches not to mention major league basketball facilities and a Velododrome for all the future Chris Hoy's. All the dog walkers could then just let their dogs shit in their own back yard much in the same way the PPAG NIMBY's have shit all over Portobello. 8)
Justice delayed is justice denied.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby AndyB » 14 Sep 2012, 14:37

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Pal of Porty » 14 Sep 2012, 14:40

Justice delayed is justice denied.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seashell » 14 Sep 2012, 14:52

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 15:38

I reckon the council needs to come up with an alternative pretty fast to satisfy the masses.

They have funding for one large high school but two too small current high schools to build them on.The solution?Redraw the boundaries, build two new schools,help regenerate Craigmillar,lose no common good land, and get on with it instead of waiting for years on The SE to do something.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby mr magnolia » 14 Sep 2012, 15:52

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 15:54

That's not a quick option either, and building two schools for 2000 pupils is a damn site more expensive than building one school for 1400.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby wangi » 14 Sep 2012, 15:54

Well it was my understanding that Abolition of Feudal Tenure got rid of that too...
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 15:55

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby AndyB » 14 Sep 2012, 15:56

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 16:01

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby neilking » 14 Sep 2012, 16:02

A challenge for Kenny MacAskill or Kezia Dugdale.

I've drafted the bill:-


by , on Flickr

Anyway, it's a bill for a public act of parliament (not a private act as has been touted) to amend the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 which is the legislation the Court of Session has just decided gives the Council power to dispose of the park (with the consent of the Sheriff Court or Court of Session) but not to appropriate it (i.e. change its use) with such consent. There's no doubt that's what the Act says but it was probably just a drafting error so all that's required now is to insert the words "or appropriate" in to the relevant section of the 1973 Act.

Kezia Dugdale could either introduce this as a private member's bill or Kenny MacAskill being a minister could introduce it as a government bill. Over to you, politicians!
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 16:03

The plans for the Craimillar Community High school were based on a roll of 600 rising to 900 as the area was redeveloped. The new PHS is sized for 1400 to accommodate an expected rise as the next blip in pupil numbers (pupil numbers rise and fall on a cycle going back to the post-war baby boom). So if the plan is redrawing the catchment between the two your looking at two schools of 1000+. A school of 1000+ is only a bit less expensive than a school of 1400. Two schools of 1000+ would be considerably more expensive, especially if you're adding in decant or acquisition costs.

I'm not saying it's not possible, just that it's not a solution in the sense of actually solving the problem.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby tufty » 14 Sep 2012, 16:11

Craigmillar is a none starter. If you were really going to consider it then you would have to consider any other site within a five mile radius. There's a space behind the station, not any further out of the catchment, but is that not obviously daft.
It's a reaction to suggest it, there are so many other points to consider. The transition and relationship between the primarys and high school is very important. How would children from the primary schools walk or reach the high school if it was built out of catchment, when they do the transition material in P7. There are other events where the pupils form high school visit primary, sports day, christmas or special events, work experience and just relationship building events.
High schools have to be built in the community they serve, otherwise they will never be the school of that community.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby neilking » 14 Sep 2012, 16:16

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 16:17

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby tufty » 14 Sep 2012, 16:32

The route from the parsons green catchment to castlebrae would take the children along Duddingston rd West, a busy road already congested with High school kids walking towards Holyrood, it's a narrow path and franck is suggesting two way taffic of teenage pedestrians in rush hour.
I gave up on my children going to a new school years ago, but I feel very strongly that the children in the catchment of Portobello High school all deserve the new school, in their catchment area.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby AndyB » 14 Sep 2012, 16:36

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby wangi » 14 Sep 2012, 16:40

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 16:46

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby Franck » 14 Sep 2012, 16:49

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby AndyB » 14 Sep 2012, 16:52

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby tufty » 14 Sep 2012, 17:04

Franck :
The road that concerns me, as someone who has worked in road safety, is the path from Holyrood to Craigmillar. It enjoys mostly one way taffic as children do not walk towards Craigmillar in the morning. I have walked to work in Craigmillar, along it into the Holyrood kids, there is only pavement on one side of the road and it is difficult to walk into the path of teenagers with no where else to go. all other routes have paths on two sides of the road, including the one you described.
What we need to focus on here is how to reduce the delay of the new school in the area it belongs to. Catchment changes are not as simple as looking at a map, the costs in surveys, consultations and assessments add up in money and time.
We have a solution that needs some clever legal work to facilitate it.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby lg1726 » 14 Sep 2012, 17:24

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby eaveyard » 14 Sep 2012, 17:25

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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 17:34

Given the situation further delay is inevitable, but any alternative plans mean starting a process from scratch. That means 4-5 years at a minimum. If the school on the park is deliverable, and I'm not in a position to judge, it's still likely to be quicker than any alternative.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby gillian » 14 Sep 2012, 17:41

I agree Emma, a public meeting will bring together possibly, hundreds of people who all know what the community needs and are all furious that it is not going ahead. The anger and frustration would be so acute that it would take a Herculean effort to have any where near a productive meeting. So many possibilities have been put forward, it now needs some one to step forward and lead the way and investigate these possibilities quickly and efficiently. And then feed back to us, with a clear way forward.
Last edited by gillian on 14 Sep 2012, 20:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby neilking » 14 Sep 2012, 18:11

Text of an e-mail I've sent to Kezia Dugdale copied to Kenny MacAskill:-

"Dear Ms Dugdale

I gather there is talk of a private act of parliament to authorise the construction of a new school on Portobello Park in the wake of the Council being blocked by the Court of Session decision.

I personally feel that private acts are effectively saying "change the law for me" whereas the law should only be changed for the benefit of everyone.

Also, it could set a dangerous precedent in that, each time someone comes up against a legal obstacle, they might be tempted to say “Oh well, no problem, we’ll just get a private act of parliament!”

I think there is a preferable solution which avoids these criticisms and is just as simple. It is a public act to amend the general law relating to all common good (not just Portobello Park) to remove the obstacle highlighted by the Court of Session in its recent judgement. In this way no other communities could find themselves thwarted in the way Portobello has and find themselves having to promote private acts.

As I’m sure you know, the nub of the court’s decision was that, the Council having conceded that Portobello Park is inalienable common good, section 75 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 gives the Council power to dispose of the park if it obtains the consent of the court (which may impose conditions) but not to “appropriate it” – i.e. retain it but change its use (with court consent).

That is indeed what the section says but it must have been a drafting oversight because it seems inconceivable that Parliament intended to provide a mechanism for the disposal of inalienable common good but not for the less extreme step of retaining it but changing its use.

And as someone observed, what could be a more fitting use of common good than its retention by the Council for the building on it of a school for the benefit of the local community?

Hence what I think is required is a very short (public) act to amend section 75 to add in references to appropriation (retention and change of use) alongside the references to disposal. I have drafted a bill and attach it for your use in case you wish to promote it as a private member’s bill. If it would help, I’d be happy to draft an explanatory note and policy memorandum to accompany this bill.

Regards

Neil King
CC. Kenny MacAskill"
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 18:47

The advantage of a private bill, if feasible, is that it doesn't step on anyone elses toes. Bear in mind that every time local authorities and development are mentioned in the same sentence, you soon start hearing accusations of 'brown envelopes'. A general change to make appropriation easier will attract far, far more opposition than a narrow bill based on a particular context.

Also, given that Common Good law is a bit of a murky area anyway, tinkering with the '73 act is unlikely to resolve difficulties; just because you can get permission from the courts doesn't mean they have to give it. The case law will still be relevant.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 19:04

Also there's been talk of reforming the Common Good quite recently (that came to nothing) and it's hinted as a possibility in the current consultation on the Community Empowerment and Renewal bill. If there is a mind to alter the legal situation on Common Good it's more likely to be subsumed by that.
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby neilking » 14 Sep 2012, 19:20

Hear what your saying seanie, and don't disagree, but my suggestion of a public bill of very narrow scope was an attempt to steer a course between a private bill being seen as special pleading ("If we can change the law so that Porty can have a school, what about the hospital in my constituency ...?" etc.) and the fact that a root and branch reform of Common Good generally might take for ages with consultations etc. and may be controversial. My bill was designed simply to fix the immediate problem with CG which is blocking the school on the park (and in an even handed way that would also fix it for anyone else in the same boat). Point taken about Community Empowerment Bill as well.

Regards the point that you would still need to get court permission under my plan, I hear you on that too but I don't think that would be too much of an obstacle. Note that this would not be a total rehash of all the murky ins and outs of CG, it's more the sheriff just checking that what the Council proposes is not a flagrant abuse of CG and the fact that planning permission exists would be very influential in that regard I think.

BTW, everybody seems to be just assuming Porty Park is CG and the Council conceded this to PPAG but where's the evidence? Have you seen any evidence because I haven't!
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Re: New Portobello High School - PPAG win legal appeal

Postby seanie » 14 Sep 2012, 19:28

Would it fix it though? If you introduce an explicit power to appropriate subject to approval of the courts, that's not an unfettered power to appropriate. Clearly the courts have discretion otherwise they wouldn't be involved. So in what circumstances would they not approve an appropriation?

Would Lady Paton be any more inclined to give the thumbs up?
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