Date set for work to start on new school

An artist's impression of the replacement Newbattle High School
An artist's impression of the replacement Newbattle High School

After lengthy delays, work to replace Newbattle Community High School could begin on site by spring 2016, with the facility open by 2018.

At a full council meeting last week councillors were updated on the project which had been delayed for the best part of a year because of a European Union contractual issue outwith Midlothian Council’s control. However, after the Scottish Government’s announcement that the issue has been resolved, councillors heard work can begin on site as soon as all the contractual and financial implications have been ironed out.

Councillor Bob Constable (SNP), the cabinet member for education, said: “We’re absolutely delighted and somewhat relieved that this hold-up has been tackled.

“The Government body, the Scottish Futures Trust, has confirmed that the council won’t be worse off as a result of the delay which is good news. Now all we really want to see is the first spade in the ground in the spring of 2016. I am really looking forward to that day and I’m sure local residents will be too.”

However, Labour councillor Jim Muirhead said: “It has been very unfortunate that we have had this delay. There is disappointment from us on that. It has kicked the confidence of the area. That needs to be built up.

“While work started on other projects this was stalled. There were people getting to the point when they thought this was never going to happen. So there is a bit of damage in the local community about this.

“Hopefully it will all go fairly smooth and the sooner we get started the better.

“I will be happier when I see spades in the ground, as I don’t want to tempt fate.”

The new school’s completion date was originally 2016.