A councillor who has supported calls for a much-needed new school in his ward has welcomed news that a site has finally been found for a doubled-capacity new building.
Gartcosh representative Greg Lennon said the protracted search for land to construct a new primary school in the village “has been the biggest stumbling block for North Lanarkshire Council for the past five years”.
He is now calling for the existing school building to be converted into community or healthcare facilities; while local authority officials say they will be working to provide a new football pitch to replace the one currently located at the chosen site.
Councillor Lennon highlighted his constituents’ frustrations over the “saga” surrounding work to provide a new school back in 2021, noting then that the need to replace an existing building already “bursting at the seams” had first been agreed four years earlier.
He welcomed this week’s announcement that the council is to buy land lying between Johnston Road and Woodneuk Road, beside the M73 at the entrance to Gartcosh, to build a 434-capacity school – with a typical timescale for similar projects being three years.
The current Gartcosh Primary building on Lochend Road is more than a century old and currently has portable buildings in its playground to provide the required extra capacity to accommodate its rising pupil roll, and the ward representative said confirmation of progress on its replacement would be warmly greeted by “the wider school community and residents with children nearing school age”.
Councillor Lennon told Lanarkshire Live: “I’m glad that the site negotiations have now finally concluded and to see North Lanarkshire Council sticking to its commitments and ensuring the new school will come with nursery and community facilities.
“I am hopeful that this is only the start of the council’s investment in the area – I would like to see North Lanarkshire go further by ensuring the old school site transfers over for full community use, with the potential to incorporate a GP surgery and dental facility.”
He added of the long wait for a suitable location to be found: “I have represented residents’ views and campaigned for an appropriate site throughout that time; this is much-needed provision given the exponential growth in housebuilding the area has experienced in recent times.”
The new school site being acquired by the council consists of three separate sections of land and includes the current football pitch used by local side Gartcosh United, which is located across the road from the area’s social club.
A council spokesperson told Lanarkshire Live: “We will work closely with the social club to agree the location and specification of a new pitch for Gartcosh United.
“A request for a statutory education consultation will be put before the education committee and we will also procure a design team and main contractor to take forward delivery of this project – this team will be responsible for acquiring planning permissions and will determine the programme once appointed. Historically, a project of this size and scale takes approximately three years to complete.”
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