New Easthouses school approved despite car park concern

The site of the ''Old Newbattle High School, Easthouses Road, Dalkeith.'' Neil Hanna Photography'.
The site of the ''Old Newbattle High School, Easthouses Road, Dalkeith.'' Neil Hanna Photography'.

Concern over the number of car parking spaces included in plans for a new primary school was raised as councillors gave the green light to the proposal.

Midlothian Council’s planning committee approved an application to build the new Easthouses Primary School on the former site of Newbattle High School last week.

But planning chiefs were quizzed at the meeting about the decision to include 67 spaces in the school car park.

Midlothian East Councillor John Hackett (Lab) questioned whether it was too many in the wake of the local authority declaring a climate emergency and pledging to approach planning decisions with a view to being zero carbon in 10 years.

He said: “Sixty-seven car park [spaces], I am just wondering how that number was arrived at. It seems a lot for a two-stream school.

“I am mindful of the climate change discussions we have had.”

However, planning boss Peter Arnsdorf said the figure was driven by both a desire not to create problems with on-street parking and the possibility of expanding the school in the future.

Speaking at last week’s meeting he said: “It is through experience that the assessment has reached the conclusion in terms of how many car parking spaces it needs.

“It is partly driven by trying not to disadvantage on-street parking situations and that is how it’s reached this number for a two-stream primary school and nursery.

“It is worth bearing in mind that there is scope within the site that, if required in the future, the school could be extended to a three-stream so there is a bit of future proofing as well has gone into that, which is why maybe it seems a little bit high.”

The 67 spaces include two disabled parking spaces, with a further four disabled spaces planned on the site.

The new school will house 420 primary pupils and 120 nursery children.

However, it is anticipated it may need to increase as more housing is built in the surrounding areas.

Two-stream schools have two classes for each year, while three-stream would see that number go up by one, potentially increasing capacity at the new school by a third.