Fury as councillors vote to close Gregory's Girl school

THERE was heartbreak and anger as councillors voted to shut the school immortalised in the hit film Gregory's Girl.

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Abronhill High School, where Gregory's Girl was filmed, is to close
Abronhill High School, where Gregory's Girl was filmed, is to close

Tearful members of the Save Abronhill High School pressure group comforted each other after yesterday morning's vote.

North Lanarkshire Council's Learning and Leisure Services Committee approved a recommendation to shut Abronhill and move the 480 pupils to Cumbernauld High. A new Cumbernauld High will be built by 2016.

As the result of the vote was announced – 20 in favour and 12 against – shouts of "shame on you" erupted from the packed public gallery at Motherwell Civic Centre.

With tensions running high, one councillor on the floor below narrowly avoided being struck by a bundle of papers thrown from the gallery, where around 50 protesters sat.

Pete Reid, whose two daughters attend Abronhill, said: "The plan to build a new school is fine and nobody would argue against their children having a nice new building to learn in.

"But usually they only shut existing schools when the new ones are built.

"The council's response to the consultation simply doesn't take our concerns seriously.

"The walking route from Abronhill to Cumbernauld High School is not safe for children.

"It's a route where there are no houses and no natural policing, people have been attacked there in the past.

"And all that is before they consider the effect ion the community. Abronhill is a town of its own, a satellite town. It has a church and community centre, but now it will have no school."

A request from parents to address the committee was denied, meaning that a final chance for those opposed to the closure of the school to offer their opinion was rebuffed.

Abronhill and Cumbernauld High Schools have a combined occupancy of 53% – one of the main thrusts of the council's decision to close Abronhill.

Group member Scott Campbell said: "They've just built a new Calderhead High School in Airdrie, and it's sitting at around 50% capacity. By the council's own reckoning, they should shut that school too.

"We are very angry. This decision will not be forgotten – it is a dark day for local democracy, Abronhill and the individual councillors who favoured the closure."

Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services, said: "This decision paves the way for a new school and community facility to be built.

"One which is fit for the modern curriculum and which will benefit generations of pupils to come.

"The fundamental reasons for making these proposals have not altered, namely the schools are hugely under-occupied.

"We need to make savings to allow a new school to be built."

The decision was later ratified at a full meeting of North Lanarkshire Council.

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Education

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