City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill

The Scottish Parliament today passed the City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill. The Bill provides the Council with statutory authority to appropriate part of Portobello Park for the purposes of building a secondary school.

Previous blogs on the background to the case can be found here.

The private Bill was introduced by the Council in order to overcome a legal ruling by the Court of Session that as the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 was silent on the question of appropriating inalienable common good land, the Council therefore had no power to do so. This Bill provides the Council with that power.

It remains a curious feature of this long saga that at no stage has any court ruled on whether the parkland is common good in the first place. Its status was always simply an uncontested claim by both parties to the Court of Session action. The Bill thus opens in Section 1(1) by declaring that the whole of the park is alienable common good land. it is believed that this is the first time that any Statute has made such a declaration.

The City Council media release is here.