Planning permission granted for new Neilston Learning Campus

A new leisure and learning campus will be built in East Renfrewshire after councillors backed the project.

The new Learning Campus will bring Neilston and St Thomas’ primaries and Madras Family Centre together on a shared site
The new Learning Campus will bring Neilston and St Thomas’ primaries and Madras Family Centre together on a shared site

Neilston Primary and the Madras Family Centre can now be knocked down to make way for the new-build, which will include an all-weather sports pitch.

Planning committee chairwoman Annette Ireland said the development would provide “fantastic facilities” in the village.

However, neighbours had objected to the plan raising concerns over noise, the visual impact of the scheme and the loss of greenspace. They also argued the site is too small for the planned building.

The council, which is behind the project, will use the new campus to provide a home for Neilston Primary, St Thomas’ Primary and the Madras Family Centre.

Councillor Ireland said: “It is fantastic new facilities for Neilston and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing this get built.”

Provost Jim Fletcher said: “I do think on balance what it is giving to the village totally dwarfs the level of objection we are getting.

“I’m very supportive of this, I think it’s great for Neilston.”

Following complaints from nearby residents, a report to the planning committee admitted the new building would be “significantly closer to Duncarnock Crescent”, but claimed the siting is “the most efficient and less disruptive option”.

Planning officers added the “impact is not considered to be of such a significant level to merit refusal of the application”.

The development will also include the flood-lit all-weather football pitch, which will be available to the community, and surrounded by a three metre fence. It is expected to be open until 9pm from Monday to Friday and 5pm at weekends.

An enclosed multi-use games area and climbing wall are also planned and the schools will have shared spaces for drama and art, staff zones and outdoor play areas.

Provost Fletcher said: “I’m very pleased to see this come forward. I do think it’s a good development and should it go ahead would be a huge boost for Neilston.

“I think it will be great both educationally in terms of improving attainment for the two schools, but also the recreational facilities that will be created won’t just be excellent for the people at school at the moment or the people who might use it, it will be excellent for all the future generations that come through.

“It’s a bit disappointing to see objections because it obviously is a site where there is a school already, although I take the point that the size and scale is slightly altered.”

The new facility will be built on ground within the site of the current Neilston Primary, allowing the existing school to continue running during construction.

Once the new school and nursery facility is completed, the current Neilston Primary and Madras Family Centre will be knocked to allow the all-weather football pitch and multi-use games area to be created.

Following the completion of all work at the Learning Campus site, the current St Thomas’ Primary building will be demolished.

As part of a separate phase of regeneration works planned for Neilston, proposals are still being developed to use this site to build a Community and Wellbeing Hub for the village, which would include a new swimming pool.