Parents of a closure-threatened Catholic primary have hit out at the council after planning documents warned of a shortage of school places in Bearsden and Milngavie.

Campaigners for St Joseph's Primary in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, said the case to save the school had been bolstered after the council's own development plan for 2015 indicated that new housing may not be approved in the area because existing nurseries and schools were already near capacity.

East Dunbartonshire Council wants to merge St Joseph's with St Andrew's Primary in neighbouring Bearsden.

But campaigners have highlighted a passage on page 62 of the plan, which states: "Due to capacity issues in Bearsden and Milngavie, proposals for new housing in this area may require a planning obligation towards the provision of nursery, primary or secondary schools where capacity issues can be demonstrated by the education service."

They said this underlined a lack of communication between the education department, which is pushing ahead with a primary school closure, and a housing department aware that new developments may require additional schools or nurseries to be built.

However, the council said the concerns do not apply to St Joseph's Primary, which is only 45 per cent full.

East Dunbartonshire Council wants to merge St Joseph's with St Andrew's Primary in neighbouring Bearsden.

It comes as the parents attempting to overturn the schools' merger plans announced they would be organising a hustings debate, with all candidates running for election in East Dunbartonshire invited to take part.

Helen Williams, vice-chair of St Joseph's Parent Council, said: "East Dunbartonshire Council's left hand does not know what its right hand is doing.

"It is absolutely astonishing that they are trying to push through an unpopular school closure when their own development plan is warning about a shortage of school places.

"The election hustings will give us an opportunity to put all the candidates on the spot

and ask them what they are going to do to support us."

The hustings will be held on April 20 at St Joseph's Church Hall in Milngavie.

Chief education officer Jacqueline MacDonald said: "This paragraph reflects the fact that some schools and nurseries in Bearsden and Milngavie are operating at very high occupancy (90 per cent plus) and there is a high demand for places. Where there is potential for new housing in these catchment areas, it is right to highlight the position."