The Scottish Parliament today passed the City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill. The Bill provides the Council with statutory authority to appropriate part of Portobello Park for the purposes of building a secondary school.

Previous blogs on the background to the case can be found here.

The private Bill was introduced by the Council in order to overcome a legal ruling by the Court of Session that as the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 was silent on the question of appropriating inalienable common good land, the Council therefore had no power to do so. This Bill provides the Council with that power.

It remains a curious feature of this long saga that at no stage has any court ruled on whether the parkland is common good in the first place. Its status was always simply an uncontested claim by both parties to the Court of Session action. The Bill thus opens in Section 1(1) by declaring that the whole of the park is alienable common good land. it is believed that this is the first time that any Statute has made such a declaration.

The City Council media release is here.


  1. Back door privatization? The last time councils had anything to do with land and schools, they sold off the playing fields to developers right across the country.
    Will this be any different this time or are the same corrupt practices and counseller’s still in place.

  2. Yes, it will be very different. Our children will have the high school they deserve on the most appropriate site. Thank goodness it’s finally happening. Well done to everyone involved.

  3. What exactly is wrong with portobello school N?
    All these new schools are crap and wont last, and are more to do with developing the old school for houses..

    • Max Templeton

      Portobello high school is run down and needs replacing. There is no debate about this. The only debate has been about location. The current school infrastructure is outdated and will not support a sufficient learning environment,let alone an attractive one. It says a lot about the priority placed onot education that this haso taken so long and been so difficult.

      • Max Templeton

        The old school will be demolished and a new park is to built on the site once St John’s primary which shares the same site is rebuilt on a sufficient footprint. The council has set aside £1m for the park it has been written into the Act that.

  4. The new schools are not crap. the ones I have seen are excellent & a big improvement on what was there before. Can you provide examples of whrer the land has been sold to the detriment of the new schools…