Renfrewshire Council moves forward with plan to build new primary school at preferred site in Dargavel Village

Council chiefs will move forward with plans to build a second primary school on their preferred site in Bishopton’s Dargavel Village – after elected members conceded there should be no further delays.

Senior officers will progress the procurement, design and construction programme for a new 800-capacity facility, due to open in August 2027, at the north end of Craigton Drive, and subsequent catchment arrangements. They were given the green light at a meeting of the education and children’s services policy board at which the findings of the statutory consultation process were considered by elected members.

It means the proposals will go ahead in a form that has divided opinion among more than 800 people who responded to a survey – with 331 opposed to the suggested site (40.6 per cent) and 323 in favour of it (39.6 per cent). Councillor Gillian Graham, Labour group education spokesperson and representative for Johnstone North and the surrounding villages, previously argued the case for various options being presented as part of a pre-consultation to inform the statutory process.

However, she told the board that her view was the local authority must go ahead with the school now. She said: “I’ve talked before about the idea of having site options and I will always believe that we should have offered the public a series of sites to look at months ago but that was refused.

“Now, this consultation was on one site and 40.6 per cent were against it, however, where would we be if we had 70 or 80 per cent? I don’t know. My view is that we have to go ahead with this school. We cannot delay it any further. I have serious concerns about how the council gets the confidence of people but I know you’ll work hard on that.”

Officers will also progress other key areas of work including a traffic and active travel plan, contingencies should there be construction delays that impact an August 2027 opening and continued engagement on future secondary school provision.

Councillor Fiona Airlie-Nicolson, an SNP representative for Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank, expressed her gratitude to officers for their work and to those who took part in the consultation process. She added: “Right from the very start of this, my focus has been on the children here and the children getting the best education provision that we can possibly offer to them.

“The community also needs an asset that they can access as part of that...the solution that’s been put forward to us is the new school built on the site that’s been part of the consultation. Therefore, from my perspective, we need to be in a place where we can provide what’s needed to that community by 2027 and I think it would be foolish not to acknowledge that.”

The newbuild, which is needed because the existing school in Arrochar Drive was built too small, is expected to cost in the region of £45 million. Councillor Emma Rodden, board convener and SNP representative for Johnstone North and the surrounding villages, said: “This is the most expansive consultation I have ever seen in my entire life and thank you wholeheartedly to all of the officers involved.”

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