East Lothian Council has appointed Hub South East to deliver two new primary schools in the county.

I look forward to seeing both projects progress as I’m sure the families living and moving into the catchment areas will too.

Development Partner Hub South East has worked on a number of learning estate capital projects for East Lothian Council, most recently Wallyford Learning Campus. They have been appointed to deliver new primary schools at Craighall and Blindwells, East Lothian’s newest town. The company was appointed for the design and development phase of the project and has now been confirmed to take the project forward through construction to completion.

National best practice in energy efficiency

East Lothian Council’s in-house project team worked closely with Hub South East to create an exciting design concept which also follows national best practice in energy efficiency.

Balfour Beatty has been appointed as main contractor for the projects. Construction is due to begin in February 2024 for completion in late Spring 2025. jmarchitects, who worked on Wallyford Learning Campus, have designed the buildings to provide modern and efficient learning spaces. Project costs for both schools combined are estimated at £49.6 million.

The primary schools are required to meet demand from ongoing and planned housebuilding in the areas. Permission has been granted for 1600 homes at Blindwells as part of a new town development, while the East Lothian Local Development Plan allocates land at Craighall for a mixed-use development including 1500 homes, around 41 hectares of employment land, a new local centre and a primary school to the north of Old Craighall village. Craighall was granted at a planning committee meeting on 1 November 2022 and Blindwells at a 6 December 2022 meeting.

Up to 420 learners and 100 early learning and childcare spaces

Each school will provide accommodation for up to 420 learners and an early learning and childcare centre offering 100 places for 2-5 year olds. Children who have already moved into the Craighall and Blindwells catchment areas are being accommodated within Stoneyhill and Cockenzie Primary Schools respectively.

Cabinet member for Education and Children’s and Family Services Councillor Fiona Dugdale said: “I am pleased to confirm that we will be working with Hub South East on the next stages for Craighall and Blindwells Primary Schools through to completion.

“We have an established and positive working relationship with Hub South East. This has brought benefits in the delivery of multimillion pound capital projects, most recently Wallyford Learning Campus, within a volatile construction market environment. These challenges, particularly in relation to inflation and its impacts on prices, remain and will be closely managed throughout the period to ensure we achieve Best Value while, at the same time, achieving the high-quality finish that we can see in our other projects.

“This is the first time we have worked with Balfour Beatty on a school new-build. They join an experienced and professional team of council officers, project managers and architects with a proven track record of delivering excellent learning spaces. I look forward to seeing both projects progress as I’m sure the families living and moving into the catchment areas will too.”

'Successful working relationship'

Andrew Thornton, Hub South East’s Projects Director said: “We’re proud to have been entrusted to deliver the new Craighall and Blindwells Primary Schools, continuing our successful working relationship as East Lothian Council’s Development Partner.  

“The designs for these exciting new schools have been developed using Passivhaus principles, so pupils and staff will not only benefit from modern new learning spaces, the buildings themselves will be energy efficient and will assist our Client in meeting progressive Scottish Government environmental targets. We look forward to working with our main contractor Balfour Beatty, for their first project since joining our supply chain, to make these plans a reality as we progress into the construction phase.”

'Excting and inspirational environments'

Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s regional construction business in Scotland, added: “This latest contract award is testament to our expertise and experience in delivering high-quality, sustainable educational facilities in Scotland and our proven track record of giving back to local communities.

“We look forward to working closely and collaboratively alongside Hub South East and East Lothian Council, to successfully deliver these new schools which will provide an exciting and inspirational learning environment for hundreds of children.”

Planning applications for both schools are available to view on the council’s planning portal using the following references:

  • Craighall Primary School (22/00681/AMM)
  • Blindwells Primary School (22/00682/AMM)
Published: Tuesday, 30th January 2024