Members of the community in Portobello, Edinburgh are fighting to save a public park and playing fields. A significant number of people in the community are against the council using Portobello Park to build a new school, which would result in the irrevocable loss of 25% of Portobello’s parkland. They want the school rebuilt on the current site (the council’s original plan in 2003) which the council plans to sell off for £3.9 million.
The Park is common good land and the council should have gone to court to seek permission to build on it but have not. Instead they obtained a legal opinion to say that they did not need to take this step. Legal advice obtained by Portobello Park Action Group says differently, i.e. that the council should go to court for permission to build on the Park.
The only way to settle the matter is in court and there is an important principle with far-reaching consequences at stake here. If the council is not challenged, it will open the door to other local authorities to obtain legal opinions to say that they can alienate common good land without seeking legal permission. This could lead to the wholesale disposal of common good assets across the country.
Portobello Park Action Group has now lodged the petition for Judicial Review against the decision of the City of Edinburgh Council taken in respect of the proposed Portobello High School in the Court of Session and are raising the necessary funds.
For more information please go to : www.portygreenkeepers.org.uk