‘No!’ to ‘super school’

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PROPOSALS to form a new £8 million ‘super school’ in the west of Arbroath have met strong opposition from parents and local people, according to results of an independent survey.

A staggering 84 per cent of 110 people polled believe the money that has been earmarked for a merger of Timmergreens and Muirfield primary schools at Hospitalfield should be instead spent on refurbishing several schools in the authority.

Two-thirds of respondents to the Hospitalfield Independent School Survey oppose building it at Hospitalfield - the preferred site ahead of Arbirlot Road West, Muirfield and Timmergreens - and the same are against school roll numbers doubling to meet the 500-pupil capacity.

Some 77 per cent have expressed grave fears for the safety of their children crossing the 1.1 mile stretch of the Westway without their supervision, with 67 per cent unhappy with improved safety measure proposals for crossing the busy town road.

Angus Council has estimated costs of £50,000 from their budget for the project to help improve the crossing at the Westway and ideas include an upgrading of the underpass, the creation of a new set of traffic lights or a pelican crossing with four crossing patrols points on the road.

However, one concerned parent wrote: “I would like to know why in the 1970s the Westway was deemed unsafe for school children to cross, yet now when the road is busier than ever it appears to be acceptable?

“There has already been one casualty on that road, I don’t want my child to be the next.”

Another said: “I see near misses involving children on a daily basis crossing minor roads to go to school and have grave fears over what could happen when you have children crossing this road at peak times.”

Local people have also expressed their fears for the children who have to cross a road that is used regularly by articulated lorries and as the main blue-light route out of Arbroath to Dundee.

Lynda and Charles Thain, who have grandchildren at Muirfield, said: “We live on the corner of Arbirlot Road and the Westway and see how busy it already is when schools are going in.

“Several years ago the lollipop man was knocked down by a car and died, so what chance are children going to have?”

Parents also want reassurances that there will be a facility for a playgroup, similar to that at Muirfield, with 85 per cent in favour of that and 56 per cent insist they haven’t been given adequate opportunity to have their say.

The official consultation period ends today (Friday), but Ewan Smith, one of the parents involved in the HISS poll, said: “We feel the voice of parents, residents and general public must be taken into consideration over this proposed new school.

“Every parent at Muirfield was offered a survey, while Timmergreens declined the opportunity to do the same with their parents.

“We met with parents, we spoke to the general public and chapped doors of several affected residents at the site adjacent to the proposed new school.

“Several claimed not to have had any official correspondence from the local authority over their plans.

“Our results clearly show the vast majority of people polled would rather money was spent on refurbishing all schools in Arbroath, not creating a new one.

“People want their children to be able to walk safely to school, without fear that they are endangered by crossing a busy road every day and many do not want a bigger school.”