Parents anger at Tanshall legal plans

Parents and pupils demonstrate against the closure
Parents and pupils demonstrate against the closure

Campaigners fighting to save Tanshall School are dismayed at claims Fife Council would consider a legal challenge if the Scottish Government rules against the closure.

Glenrothes councillor Peter Grant, who has campaigned with parents to oppose the closure, says he has learned that the Council’s administration intends to apply for a judicial review in the Court of Session if the Scottish Government overturns its decision.

In March, councillors decided to close the west Glenrothes school - one of five to be axed following a Fife-wide review into the schools estate.

Cllr Grant said: “It’s possible that if the Scottish Government decides the closure is unjust then we have a ridiculous situation of Fife Council spending public money to fight an expensive legal challenge, that could cost thousands of £s of public money, to defend something that the public has never wanted.

“I’m demanding a cast iron guarantee that if any of closures are overturned, not a single penny of our money will be spent on lawyers’ fees without it being agreed in public by councillors.”

Councillor Grant says he only learned of the possible legal move following comments made by councillor Brian Poole, Fife Council’s education spokesman in a Council meeting.

“We are yet to be fully informed of any legal move, but this isn’t the first time the executive committee has not been made aware of management decisions,” Cllr Grant told the Gazette.

As we went to press Shelagh McLean, directorate resources manager said: “No decisions have been made by Fife Council because no decision has been made by the Scottish Government yet.

“A judicial review is one of the options available to the Council but that would require due process, following an announcement by the Scottish Government.”

Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell agreed in April to ministerial scrutiny of Fife Council’s decision to close Tanshall Primary School.

No date has been set for the Scottish Government’s decision to be made public, but parents opposing the closure are confident the Fife authority has not made a case on educational grounds to close the school.

If the Fife authority was to be granted a judicial review the process could run for months, even years and cost tens of thousands of pounds.