Glasgow Save our Schools Campaign
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Council’s plans in doubt as school is listed
"Council officials want to demolish the building and replace it with a new school on the site but the heritage agency has listed the red sandstone school, built in the 1890s, as a building of special architectural or historic interest."
Scotland's largest council has taken on the country's heritage watchdog in a battle over the future of a Victorian school building.
The row between Historic Scotland and Glasgow City Council over the fate of Dowanhill Primary School in the city's west end could hamper the authority's £261m effort to revitalise the city's schools.Council officials want to demolish the building and replace it with a new school on the site but the heritage agency has listed the red sandstone school, built in the 1890s, as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
The preservation order may hinder plans to overhaul the city's education sector and delay the fourth phase of the council's plan to develop pre-12 education in Glasgow.
A Historic Scotland spokeswoman said: "Dowanhill Primary School is a good example of a large post-1872 Education Act primary school with an imposing interior scheme, including an unusual basement level covered playground area.
"At the time of construction, Dowanhill School was the most costly of all the schools erected by the Govan Parish School Board and was built to accommodate over 1500 scholars."
In March, up to a dozen mothers occupied Dowanhill primary in a last-ditch attempt to keep the school open. The sit-in was staged by the Save Our Schools campaign, a group fighting the council's decision to close the school under its pre-12 education strategy.
But a council spokesman said they would be appealing the decision to list the school, claiming the site was not worthy of preservation.
He said: "Dowanhill is far from unique and this particular design is common in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. Furthermore, an earlier phase of our pre-12 proposals resulted in the demolition of a similar-style building in Haghill. This whole process has to be about providing the best conditions and environment for pupils to succeed – it's not simply about bricks and mortar."
Local authority officials may have to rethink their plans for the site which was to be redeveloped to house Notre Dame and St Peter's primaries, as well as Anderston Street Nursery School.
The council said the use of the Dowanhill site was imperative to the council's investment, and any restrictions imposed by listing would affect both the cost of the programme and the quality of what it could then deliver on the site.
However, heritage experts were delighted that the building could be saved from demolition for future generations.
Audrey Gardner, of the Strathclyde branch of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, said: "This is wonderful news. It was very cavalier of the council to want to move into the site and clear it despite the wishes of heritage experts."
The Herald revealed in May that the council opposed the Dowanhill C listing, claiming there were numerous examples of former school board primary schools in the city. Herald August 01 2006
Bob, 9:38 AM