RELIGIOUS symbols must be at the forefront of the design of Tullibody South Campus, a prominent bishop has said.

Clackmannanshire Council is planning to demolish the current Abercromby Primary School and replace it with a shared facility – incorporating the school with St Bernadette's Roman Catholic Primary School and a nursery.

The site is also set to include a public access hub, which would include meeting rooms, a library and IT and sport facilities.

Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld commended Father Michael Freyne for his work negotiating on the proposed campus with the local authority before emphasising a number of requirements which must be met.

He stressed the building should be designed in a way that immediately makes staff, pupils and visitors aware that they are entering a Catholic school – citing the importance of visible religious symbols.

The safety and security of children must also be a priority, with plans ensuring that all parts of the school are protected from unauthorised visitors.

Finally, he said there must be space for growth and future expansion for the school so that the local community can also grow.

In a statement given to the Advertiser, the church said that without these concerns being satisfied, and agreed in writing, it would have to "reconsider its position regarding its cooperation with the project".

Councillor Dave Clark had previously expressed concerns about the security of a community hub and admitted to feeling uncomfortable that members of the public could freely enter a building used by children.

However, leader of the council Les Sharp, issued a guarantee in September that the safety of students at both schools would remain a priority of the plans.

He said: "Our design and project team are very experienced in the construction of campus style schools, we work closely with them to ensure our children's safety and education are at the heart of design and function."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Clackmannanshire Council said this week: "The creation of a brand new campus at Tullibody South provides a wonderful opportunity for the provision of modern facilities for the young people attending Abercromby Primary, St Bernadette's RC Primary and the nursery.

"The two schools and the nursery will continue to exist as separate entities within the campus, each having their own staff, management teams, budgets, ethos and visions. They will share facilities such as outdoor learning space, toilets, meeting rooms, games hall and dining facilities.

"In developing the plans for the campus, extensive and continuing discussions have taken place with stakeholder groups including representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, parent councils, community groups, staff and pupils to ensure that requirements are taken into account.

"This has included site visits to other shared campus schools in Scotland to ensure that we can share best practice which has already been successfully introduced elsewhere.

"The safety of our pupils is always our top priority, and this has been an essential part of the ongoing discussions with the stakeholders groups, and is an integral part of the design of the campus. The design of the building also allows for future expansions of the schools, should this be required."