South Primary School bulldozed to make way for housing
BULLDOZERS have moved in to demolish a former primary school which was closed amid a storm of protest.
A pile of rubble and mangled metal is all that remains of the old South Primary after it was razed to the ground to make way for new houses.
Parents had mounted a ferocious campaign against the school’s closure, including a candlelit vigil and a protest march to Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters in Cotton Street, Paisley.
However, their bid to save the school was unsuccessful and the doors were closed for good at the end of term in June 2009.
Soon afterwards, Loretto Housing Association was granted planning permission to bulldoze the building and janitor’s house and create more than 50 homes on the Neilston Road site.
Contractors have now demolished the building to make way for work on the £6.4million development, which is due to get under way in January.
Eileen Docherty, of Loretto Housing Association, told the Paisley Daily Express: “We are currently tendering for contracts to carry out the building work and expect to have those back in early January.
“Work on the housing development is scheduled to start in January and will last approximately 18 months.”
Funding for the housing development has come from Loretto, as well the Scottish Government.
Since South Primary was closed, the site had fallen into a state of disrepair.
As well as the school building and janitor’s house, the 1.7 hectare site takes in a blaes seven-a-side football pitch and playground, which are substantially overgrown.
The new development will include three-storey townhouses which will look onto Neilston Road, as well as two-storey terraced houses around a central square.
In total, there will be 37 houses and 16 flats and these will include a family house for a wheelchair user.
The homes will also be fully insulated and include solar roof panels.
The supported accommodation unit will include 10 self-contained flats, as well as a base for staff. It will support young adults from Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work Through Care team.
Education chiefs blamed high running costs and dwindling pupil numbers for their decision to close South Primary.
They said it was operating at 36 per cent capacity, compared with an average of 72 per cent occupancy for other primary schools in the Paisley area.
The annual cost of educating each pupil at South Primary was billed as £4,445 – 38 per cent higher than the average cost for other local primary schools.