March 20, 2019
No place like Neilston
Place is the new policy buzzword. Place-making, place principles, place based this and that. And if there is one community in Scotland that has been to the fore in thinking about place, way before it became a buzzword, it is Neilston in East Renfrewshire. For fifteen years they have been developing their ideas on their place. From the ground-breaking Neilston Charter in 2009 to the Going Places in 2014 and everything in between and since, if there was ever somewhere that a Council should be thinking differently about place it is in Neilston. Well, not this Council.
East Renfrewshire Council has committed £30 million to building the Neilston Joint Campus which is to replace the existing primary school provision in the village. When considering where the new joint campus should be located, the Council restricted its appraisal of potential sites to those which are in the Education Department’s estate i.e. St Thomas’ Primary and Neilston Primary effectively presenting this site as the only realistic option. NDT believes that that is not the best site available.
While Neilston Development Trust fully supports the Joint Campus proposal, the Trust believes there is a good case for further examination and discussion about where the new campus should be located.
The purpose of the is to raise public awareness, stimulate discussion, and encourage East Renfrewshire Council to re-open their Joint Campus Options Appraisal with a wider scope. The Trust considers that a new appraisal should examine all possible sites and recommend options for the vacated sites.
Thus far the Council have refused to acknowledge the experience and knowledge around place-making that the community have developed over many years and instead seem intent on pressing forward with a unilateral, top down imposition of a decision as to where this highly significant investment in Neilston should be made.