SNP councillor Alasdair MacPherson has voiced his anger with a further delay in the construction of a new school for St Margaret’s RC Primary School in Cowie.

Initial plans would have seen the new school completed by October of this year, but this was delayed when Councillors Neil Benny and Margaret Brisley tabled a motion to instruct officers to “commence consultations with the Cowie community about a potential new community facility to include a joint campus arrangement for the schools” which Cllr MacPherson described as a “wrecking amendment.” And now the Tory-Labour administration’s capital budget plans suggest the building of the school will be extended into 2018 – five years after the initial proposal.

The minutes of the October meeting read: “[Cllr MacPherson] pointed to the separate identities of the two existing schools and the funding that had already been spent on upgrading Cowie Primary School. He also expressed concern that the timetable to replace St Margaret’s Primary School could be adversely impacted by this additional consultation and asked where the funding for the campus would be found from.” Cllr MacPherson said: “On the night the Council was due to approve the funding for the new school Councillor Brisley and her Tory coalition partner Cllr Benny tabled a wrecking amendment which proposed the possibility of building a joint campus for the two schools in Cowie. I did not support this proposal for several reasons, the main one being the delay it could create.

“Council officers were sent back to consult with the Cowie community on the proposed joint campus. I attended one of the briefing sessions only two weeks ago and was astonished to learn that the campus idea was no longer on the table and even worse than that the new school would not be completed until Easter 2016.

“On Friday last week the Tory-Labour administration released their budget plans for capital expenditure for the next five years and I was absolutely gobsmacked to learn that the completion of the new school had slipped even further in the two weeks since I had attended the briefing session.

“Their budget proposals clearly show that the new school and nursery is to be built over a 4 year period from 2014 and would not be completed until 2018.

“This is a major slap in the face for the children, parents and staff of St Margaret’s RC Primary School and the SNP group is not prepared to stand back and do nothing about it. We are tabling an amendment at Thursday’s budget meeting, which if approved, will bring forward the completion of both the school and the new nursery to the end of 2015.

“I sincerely hope that my fellow ward members Cllrs Brisley and Weir will support the SNP proposal to spend £5.5m in Cowie over the next two years; the kids of St Margaret’s deserve nothing less.” Labour Councillor Margaret Brisley responded: "The original plans were only to refurbish the school, however we will now be delivering a brand new school as well as a brand new nursery as part of our wider plans to regenerate Cowie. As a local member and vice chair of the Education Committee, I know this is hugely welcomed by local people." An email from the Stirling Council's asset department reads: "Consultation work is ongoing with the local community, the private sector developers who will construct the new houses, and NHS Forth Valley to ensure that the building of the new school is one of the foundation elements in the regeneration of Cowie over the short, medium and long term.

"It has been regrettable that there has been a slight delay in the construction timetable for the school but in the main the community were understanding that this approach will lead to further benefits for the residents of Cowie over the next few years.

"It is our intention to be on site in Spring 2015 but the actual completion timescale can only be confirmed once a contractor has been procured."