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School closure parents in Lanarkshire seek documents

12 January 10 16:13 GMT

Parents trying to keep a closure-threatened school open in North Lanarkshire have sought the help of the information commissioner.

North Lanarkshire Council announced proposals to shut four primaries last November and a public consultation on the plans is due to end on Friday.

Parents at Gartsherrie Primary in Coatbridge claimed they had been denied access to important documents.

But the council insisted it would provide the requested files.

Under the local authority's plans, Gartsherrie faces the axe, along with Belvidere Primary in Bellshill, St Francis of Assisi, Cumbernauld, and St Matthew's in Wishaw.

The move would save the council almost £1m.

Falling schools rolls and the poor state of some of the accommodation have been cited as the reasons for closure.

Those behind the campaign to keep Gartsherrie open claimed they asked the council for a copy of a building survey, being used as part of the proposal to close the school, under Freedom of Information legislation but have yet to receive it.

They have now written to the information commissioner asking him to intervene.

Parents Association chairwoman Kay Rowatt, whose son is in primary one at Gartsherrie, said: "The information held in the survey is a crucial part of the council's recommendation to close our school yet they have refused us details.

"Officials have not been able to confirm exactly how old the survey is.

"We would like to see it to confirm exactly when it was done so that we can make accurate representations to the consultation."

Internal review

Ms Rowatt said the campaigners were worried they would not have all the information needed to back their case for keeping the school open before the public consultation comes to an end.

North Lanarkshire Council said it was now sending out the documents requested via its freedom of information officer.

A spokeswoman added: "A succession of requests for information was received. We consider these to have been responded to in full.

"In terms of the Freedom of Information Act any person dissatisfied with a response can seek an internal review."

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