On 22 May 2014 the City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Private Bill Committee published their Consideration Stage Report which set out their consideration of, and decisions on, objections to the Bill http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/76791.aspx. The report concluded that, having taken account of all the evidence, the Committee was satisfied that the benefits of the proposal which the Bill would allow to be taken forward outweighed the disbenefits, and so rejected all the objections.
The Committee met again on 12 June 2014 to conclude the Consideration Stage of the Bill. This involved consideration of an amendment to the Bill which was tabled by a member of the Bill Committee with the purpose of providing safeguards for any future use of the land and maintaining the protections of inalienable common good status in circumstances where the land was not, or was no longer to be, used for an educational purpose. This amendment was prepared by an independent drafter appointed by the Parliament (revising an earlier amendment the Council had prepared), which the Council had the opportunity to review in advance and was content with. While other amendments had been requested by certain objectors to the Bill, none of those were taken forward by Committee members. The amendment tabled was agreed to unanimously by the Committee. The Committee also agreed unanimously to each individual provision of the Bill (as amended).
The Bill reached its Final Stage yesterday, 26 June 2014, consisting of a debate and a vote in the Scottish Parliament. The Parliament agreed to pass the Bill and there will now be a four week standstill period before it can be submitted for Royal Assent. When it actually receives Royal Assent (and hence becomes an Act) will depend upon when the Queen (or an appointed delegate, if Her Majesty is out of the country) is available to sign the Bill. As such, we would estimate that it will be around five or six weeks before the Bill is enacted although this obviously cannot be guaranteed.
As soon as the Act is in force we will appropriate the park and formally appoint our contractors, Balfour Beatty, to ensure that the construction of the new school starts on site as quickly as possible. The new school is anticipated to open in August 2016.
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