Not a penny of designated council funding will go towards a promised school at Dundee’s Western Gateway, a report has revealed, despite residents paying thousands towards it.
Dundee City Council will instead attempt to gain funds from the Scottish Government, keeping residents in further limbo.
Councillors will be asked to approve the proposals at a meeting of the children and families committee on Monday.
The local authority has been accused of “passing the buck” by locals who say they will be “disappointed” if the decision goes ahead.
Residential roof tax
There are currently 346 residential dwellings which have been built by Springfield developers since 2015 and locals have paid approximately £5,300 per household in a ‘roof tax’ to contribute towards a school.
By 2030, the total financial contribution will surpass £5 million as a further 727 homes are built in the Dykes of Gray site on the outskirts of the city.
According to a committee report, it is predicted the school could cost around £16 million to build, as well as a further £2.1 million in yearly running costs.
There is currently “no allowance” in the revenue budget to cover any of the capital or revenue, the report revealed.
Claiming that you cannot build a school you promised because you have not planned or budgeted for it is an admission of grotesque incompetence.”
The local authority will instead be looking to the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP) to secure the additional cash for the school.
Stewart Hunter, children and families convener at Dundee City Council, said he is confident in the bid which could be put forward, should councillors approve the plans on Monday evening.
He said: “The recommendation that we seek funding from the Scottish Government is certainly one that I welcome.
“The council is looking at a significant cost without this and it helps us deliver the school for the community but also helps protect the finances of the council.
“We believe it is a good bid and we feel it meets a lot of the criteria that the Scottish Government are looking for.”
If plans are not in place by 2025, the council will be required to return all financial contributions which have been accumulated by residents.
However Bill Batchelor, chairman of the Western Gateway community group, said council chiefs should have made financial provisions once the roof tax was agreed in 2015.
Families living at Western Gateway are currently expected to send their children to St Fergus or Ardler Primary School – more than five miles away.
Many, however, send their children to schools in Liff, in Angus, which is due to cap its school roll.
He said: “There is a need for local education but it feels like the council are burying their heads in the sand.
“Provision for this should have been made in 2015 when they agreed to put a roof tax on our houses.
“We’re talking about the creation of a totally new community – but how can you create a community without a school?
“Our kids are scattered all over Dundee and some of them are going to school in other areas like Liff.
“The council have put themselves in the position of needing funding from the government by essentially ignoring what was going to be the inevitable.”
Lochee councillor and North East MSP Michael Marra condemned the local authority’s proposal.
The Labour education spokesman said: “This report as it stands is a betrayal of local people and a dereliction of duty.
“The failure of the SNP administration to do any effective planning whatsoever on this vital issue is appalling.
“Claiming that you cannot build a school you promised because you have not planned or budgeted for it is an admission of grotesque incompetence.
“This school has been promised for many years. Local people bought their houses and paid extra money on the promise it would be put in place.”