Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:44 GMT on Monday, 19th November 2012.
Ex-Taggart star supports Save Abronhill High School campaign, against cuts driven closure of the Gregory’s Girl backdrop

Colin McCredie talks to Cumbernauld Television. Picture from Cumbernauld.TV, courtesy of Bill Henry

Picture is copyright of Bill and Henry and is used on his courtesy.

SCOTTISH Actor Colin McCredie has lent his support to the Save Abronhill High School, telling Cumbernauld.TV of the reasons behind his support.

Talking to Cumbernauld Television’s Scott Campbell, the Scottish stage and television star said: “I learned about the Save Abronhill High School campaign directly from Twitter and I quickly got involved by retweeting a lot of support messages. I am keen to save the high school.

“I was interested the campaign particularly as the film Gregory’s Girl was filmed at Abronhill High School; a film which I watched many times in my childhood and still watch.

“I feel that with a new town like Cumbernauld, pulling everything down means effectively killing history and in particular the history of Gregory’s Girl, which is one the best Scottish movies of all time.

“I come at this from a number of perspectives.

“Obviously my wife is a teacher, although my personal view is that pulling schools down isn’t always the answer; it’s great to see new schools built, however there are so many brilliant old Victorian schools that could be saved.”

Picture is copyright of Bill and Henry and is used on his courtesy.

Abronhill High School, which was the backdrop for the famous 1981 film Gregory’s Girl is in the frame by Labour-led North Lanarkshire Council for amalgamation with nearby Cumbernauld High School, a move which would see Abronhill lose its one high school; Kildrum’s Cumbernauld High School rebuilt and all staff and students amalgamated over next year’s summer holidays.

The amalgamation will be the third closure by North Lanarkshire Council, in the Abronhill area alone, with the local authority previously closing the area’s Abronhill Nursery and Cedar Road nursery. 

Colin, who is a father of two, went on to add: “I think for anyone with kids, amalgamations and new buildings are positive things, provided the timescale is appropriate.

“The pupils in this situation are going to lose a school with two schools pushed together. That alone will be one big change for the kids, but moving to a new school and then a few years down the line a new build will mean yet another move. That’s something I don’t agree with, I think it’s making kids do things twice and it sounds like a rush job to me.”

The proposed closure of Abronhill High School is just one of close to 200 draft savings options which would save the council around £105 million, although only £73.3 million of savings options need to be realised within the next three years.

Welcoming Colin’s comments a spokesperson for the Save Abronhill High School Working Group said: “We're delighted that someone like Taggart's Colin McCreadie is supporting this campaign. He is another in an ever growing list of public figures who are showing support and positivity towards our campaign against these plans.

“The support of such public figures has helped the campaign. People within the local community have responded astoundingly, as we expected, but the input of celebrities and well known faces doubtlessly helps as it shows that the closure proposals mean a lot to people that live in Abronhill or have another form of direct link to the school. We welcome their support and believe it sends a very strong message to North Lanarkshire Council.

“What is clear now is that the plans for Abronhill High School are angering prominent people in the public sphere. To ignore them is North Lanarkshire Council’s prerogative but it is doubtless, now, that this campaign is now going well beyond the boundaries of Abronhill and Cumbernauld.”

North Lanarkshire Council’s consultation into the proposed package of savings closed on Monday 5th November 2012, although it was criticised heavily after it was discovered that only 1% of North Lanarkshire’s 148,000 households responded, as a consultative document entitled ‘The Way Ahead’ failed to reach every household in the local authority; a promise which was made by the council as it launched its consultation in late September.

Cumbernauld Media Editor Scott Campbell, who conducted the interview with Colin said: “It was great to talk with Colin. With his wife previously teaching at Cumbernauld Primary School and him being a father he has an excellent awareness of the Abronhill campaign, despite but some people may think.

“His contribution to the campaign will be a welcome one as I, Cumbernauld Media and the Save Abronhill High School campaign continue to fight against the proposed closure of Abronhill High School.

“The closure of the area’s High School will hit the local economy hard. The area’s community centre, health centre, library and shopping centre all surround the high school, in addition to hundreds of local homes. All of these things will be affected by the closure of the school.

“I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Colin and many residents from throughout Cumbernauld, and beyond, who are determined to fight against the Coatbridge formed proposal to close another Abronhill school.”

Anger has been mounting against the local authority even more as residents begin to feel that Cumbernauld is disproportionally treated, compared to the rest of North Lanarkshire.

The anger came as Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services, opened the new £25 million Coltness High campus, declaring: "This is the 39th school which has been formally opened either as a new build, or completely refurbished, by North Lanarkshire Council since 2006" – none of these 39 schools are in Cumbernauld, which is North Lanarkshire’s largest town.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth’s SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn, who has been working closely with the Save Abronhill High School campaign said: “I am horrified that North Lanarkshire Council is planning to consult on the closure of Abronhill High which is a well-liked school, serving a large part of Cumbernauld. 

“The Council has in the last few years closed two nursery schools in Abronhill, and with this plan to shut the High School, it seems that they are determined to rip the heart out of the area.

“What is particularly crazy is that the Council itself has a plan to see the construction of some 2000 new homes nearby through its plan for a South Cumbernauld Community Growth Area, yet at the same time they propose closing a High School that would serve such homes.  I will resolutely oppose this plan, and I am absolutely confident that people in the area will do so as well.”

The full interview is available to view through www.Cumbernauld.TV.


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