Dundee residents awaiting a primary school which they paid thousands towards are hopeful it will be built by 2025, after gaining backing from Holyrood candidates.
Each household at the Western Gateway, a suburb on the outskirts of the city, paid £4,680 in a ‘roof tax’ to help build the promised school.
There are now 478 properties at the Dykes of Gray site and around 1,400 more houses are expected to be built by 2030.
But the accumulated £600,000 from residents is just a small part of the estimated school cost of £13.5 million and Dundee City Council have not yet provided a date for when the school will be built.
With thousands of houses anticipated by 2030, the contributions could be in the region of £7 million.
If no agreement to build the school is reached by June 2025, the funds could be returned to residents.
Western Gateway Community Group asked local candidates to support the school and help the local authority commit to a schedule which could see the school built by August 2025.
Bill Batchelor, chairman of the group, said he has been encouraged by the response after all but two Dundee City West candidates offered their support and 15 regional candidates also backed the primary school.
Heather Rothney, 41, is one of many residents who moved to the area after being sold on the idea of a new school in a close-knit community.
Her family relocated from Aberdeen in September and she hopes a school is built in time for her seven-week-old son Patrick O’Hanlon starting school.
The main concern, she says, is Patrick attending nursery with children who will not be able to go to primary school together.
It is estimated there will be 287 school-aged children living in the suburb by 2025, and the figure will soar once future developments are built at the site.
Local children must currently travel up to five miles to Ardler Primary School, in Dundee, however many opt to apply for a space at neighbouring schools in Liff, Angus, or Invergowrie, in Perthshire.
However Liff Primary School’s pupil roll has been capped at 118 for August 2021 and many youngsters will miss out on a place.
Heather said: “If he attends the local nursery he could end up going to a completely different school from the boys and girls in his class. It would be very disappointing.
“It means there’s no continuity for building friendships. Our second thoughts were that we would like him to go to Liff Primary but it’s unlikely that we’d even get him in there.
“A lot of people chose this site because there was going to be a school. It’s a very family orientated community.”
She hopes the support from Holyrood candidates will help persuade the local authority into delivering the school within an agreed timeframe.
She added: “I wonder why there has been no accountability for why this school hasn’t happened yet.
“There’s still no commitment and there doesn’t seem to be a penalty for something that was promised and they’re not delivering on.”
Candidates pledge support
A Dundee City Council spokesman said a report discussing the community’s options will be presented to the children and families committee in “due course”.
Tess White, Scottish Conservative candidate for Dundee City West said the local authority had a “burden of responsibility” to deliver a school for the parents who have been “badly let down.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes Villalba, Labour candidate, said it was “unacceptable” for families to have paid a roof tax with no timeframe for when the school will be built.
“Instead of more promises, this community needs a fixed timetable by summer 2021 for the delivery of the school by summer 2025,” she said.
Joe FitzPatrick, SNP candidate, said: “The question is not whether there ought to be a school here, but is instead how we make it happen as quickly as possible.”