The City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Bill was introduced on 25 April. This is a Private Bill which is being promoted by the City of Edinburgh Council to address the legal obstacle which is currently preventing the new Portobello High School being built on Portobello Park.
In order to remove the obstacle, the Bill aims to reclassify the park as "alienable common good land”, which would allow the Council to use it for purposes other than its current recreational use, although these would be limited to the Council’s functions as an education authority.
The day after the Bill's introduction, a 60-day “objection period” begins, which allows anyone wishing to object to the Bill to submit their objection to the Parliament.
A Private Bill Committee, made up of between three to five MSPs, will be established to consider the Bill and any objections lodged. The objection period for the Bill will close at 5pm on Monday 24 June.
Background - Private Bill procedure
Private Bills are different to other Bills in that they involve measures sought in the private interests of the promoter, and to which others may object.
Each Private Bill is scrutinised by a Private Bill Committee, consisting of MSPs who have no direct connection with the promoter or the subject matter.
The role of the Committee is to consider the Bill and to arbitrate between the promoter and objectors. Procedural guidance and assistance is provided by the clerks in the Non-Government Bills Unit.
Private Bills are subject to a three-stage process.
- Preliminary Stage: Committee consideration of the general principles of the Bill and whether the Bill should proceed as a Private Bill and preliminary consideration of objections; Parliament debate on general principles and whether a Bill should proceed
- Consideration Stage: Committee consideration of the details of the Bill, including amendments and all remaining objections
- Final Stage: Parliament’s consideration of amendments to the Bill and a decision whether to pass or reject it.
Picture: The current Portobello High School, in Edinburgh, seen from Arthur's Seat. (Copyright: Norrie Adamson, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.)