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February 11, 2009

Parents chain themselves in protest over school closures

Residents have campaigned long and hard to save Maryhill Burgh Halls and the adjacent swimming pool. With a recent £1m Lottery award, all their hard work seemed to have paid off. But instead of joining in the celebrations at the formal ceremony, parents chose to chain themselves to the Burgh Halls’ main door in protest at the Council’s proposal to close two local primary schools this summer

£1m was recently donated by the Heritage Lottery Fund to reopen Maryhill Burgh Halls and attached swimming pool.

This is the outcome of years of campaigning by local people who refused to give up and see their community resources turned into private developments as the Council originally intended.

But the glitzy media launch was marred by protests from parents of the nearby Wyndford and St. Gregory’s Primary schools, which Glasgow City Council plans to close early this Summer.

They asked why their community should finally be getting its Burgh Halls and swimming pool back only to loose both of its primary schools at exactly the same time.

Parents chained themselves outside the Burgh Halls door, forcing political grandees to climb underneath them on the way to the media conference inside.

Parents from those and other schools had earlier chained themselves outside City Chambers in George Square in similar protest for the Council meeting on the school closures.

At that council meeting, all the Labour and the sole independent Councillor voted for the closures – which was a majority of the votes. SNP, Liberal and Green councillors voted against the closures. The Conservative councillor abstained.

Ironically, the late Kenny McLachlan, who did more than anyone else to save the Burgh Halls from destruction and into its present planned future, spent his last campaign before his death fighting to save Shakespeare Primary (unsuccessfully – it eventually closed) as part of his role as then chairperson of Wyndford and District Community Council. Had he been alive today, he would surely have been outraged at the plans to close both of the two remaining schools in the Wyndford area, and would likely have himself joined the parents protest outside his own Burgh Halls