Western Gateway residents have been assured that a promised primary school will be built regardless of government funding.
Locals expressed concern after release of criteria which would allow Dundee City Council to apply for Scottish Government investment was delayed by up to a year.
The funds from the learning estate investment programme would help the local authority cover part of the financial costs of building the school, which is expected to surpass £16 million.
It is hoped the school will be built by August 2025 after residents paid a ‘roof tax’ of approximately £5,000 each when they bought their homes from Springfield developers.
We have given a clear commitment on numerous occasions that we will deliver a primary school in the Western Gateway and that commitment remains.”
Stewart Hunter, Dundee City Council children and families convener
The investment programme criteria was expected to be released by the end of 2021, however in December Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed details would be outlined within the “next 12 months”.
Community group chairman Bill Batchelor had expressed his disappointment at the delay.
He said parents living in the Dundee suburb, on the outskirts of the city, needed their own primary school as they were against bussing their children to catchment schools Ardler and St Fergus, some five miles away.
However Councillor Stewart Hunter, Dundee’s children and families convener, said the local authority planned to build the school even if funding from the Scottish Government was not secured.
Education leaders at the council promised in June to source the cash to build the school.
Dundee City Council is awaiting the “green light” to apply for funding and has an application ready to be submitted.
Alongside Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, Mr Hunter has written to Ms Somerville requesting clarity of the timeline with the aim of building the school by August 2025.
He said: “The council has been working on the bid and is ready to submit it when the application process opens.
“The council has also been working to ensure we are ready to go as soon as we get the green light.
“I’m not sure where the notion that the building of the school is dependent on funding from the Scottish Government has come from but it is not accurate.
“We have given a clear commitment on numerous occasions that we will deliver a primary school in the Western Gateway and that commitment remains.”
Now Mr Batchelor has welcomed the response from Mr Hunter and says he hopes the school can be built for 2025, when the number of primary-aged children in the area will reach 247.
He said: “We need the government to commit to a specific date when funding will become available as the response leaves it open for the whole of 2022.”