New £19m primary school with no car drop off points gets go ahead

Craighall Primary has been designed to encourage children to walk and cycle to school.

New £19m Craighall primary school promoting active travel gets go ahead in East Lothian LDRS

A new £19m primary school will have no designated drop off points in a bid to encourage pupils to walk or cycle to class.

Plans for the new Craighall Primary School, outside Musselburgh, were approved by East Lothian councillors at a virtual planning meeting this week.

And they welcomed the decision not to create places where parents can drop their children off by car at the facility.

The primary school has been designed to encapsulate the local authority’s future vision for education in the county.

Initial plans for the new school include informal winding corridors creating a softer feel alongside lots of windows to bring in natural light and a focus on designing spaces for children to play within the buildings themselves.

Corridors feature cubby holes where children can play and use their imagination as well as open spaces. Outside, a woodland trail will be created in one corner of the site for youngsters to explore nature and diversity.

The school will initially have 14 classrooms for 420 pupils and an early learning centre for around 100 youngsters.

Approving the plans, councillor Andrew Forrest, ward member for Musselburgh, said he hoped people would get behind the idea of travelling to the school in a sustainable way.

He said: “I just hope that these safe routes to school will be designed properly so that the kids can enjoy walking and cycling to school.

“With regard to the drop off points I think our transportation department can ensure there is no way people can drop off there by just stopping at the side of the road so they can drop their kids off because this will spoil what we have got there.

“This is an opportunity where we are designing a school from scratch where we can have kids enjoying a walk to school rather than just getting dumped in the back of a car and the car opened and them put back out again.”

A member of the planning team told councillors that it had been felt there was no need for a drop off point at the new school which is part of a wider mixed use development north of the village of Old Craighall.

He said: “We are trying to get away from creating areas for children to be dropped off by car.

“There are a number of cycle routes to the school with direct links to the segregated active travel corridor and it is within walking distance of Musselburgh Railway Station. There should not be a need for pupils to be dropped off by car.”

East Lothian Provost John McMillan said: “This is an exciting opportunity and lets hope people will recognise this is an opportunity to learn, not just to educate, and to travel there safely and respect the environment around it and build the sense of community around it.”

The committee approved the plans unanimously.

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