AS CONSULTATION progresses on the proposed relocation of St Mungo’s PS, questions are being raised about how the local authority has lost a school building in the first place.

Cllr Craig Holden, who was a part of the administration when the school was decanted to Alloa Academy in 2018 but has since gone independent, spoke to the Advertiser ahead of a public meeting on the future of St Mungo’s.

As reported in November 2018, the school building closed for good due to ongoing water damage, the pupils having moved to Alloa Academy in April that year.

Investigations into the issue had highlighted "complex groundwater conditions prevailing in the area".

However, it was “difficult to identify a specific feature that is likely to be responsible for the water entering the site”.

The issues were never fixed because there were no guarantees that the cost of repairs could be limited or indeed, that the dampness would not return in the future.

Cllr Holden, representative for Clackmannanshire South where the school is based, asked: “How did it happen? How did we lose that school?”

How is it, he questioned, that the school building stood at Forth Crescent for years without issues?

Cllr Holden highlighted that a housing development has been progressing in the area for years, however, he emphasised he is not suggesting that this is the direct cause.

On the other hand, a September 2018 ground survey from WSP, commissioned by the council, said: “Recent developments have caused changes to the groundwater environment and it is suggested this could have influenced water table rise in the area of the school.”

The changes referred to included “topographic changes and resultant potential for extra groundwater recharge; increased SUDs discharge and associated earthworks; altered drainage features”.

And the report added: “Comment is made that the adverse ground water effect on the school could be as a result of a combination of these factors.”

However, the report also said it was "difficult to determine" the drivers of the issues.

Cllr Holden said that at the time he asked for reports on the problem but these were “inconclusive”.

The representative added: “I would have thought that the council, for that amount of money, for the fact they lost a school, for the fact it could be upwards of £6-8m to build a new school, would be interested enough to find out what caused this.”

He went on to say that as a public authority, the council has a responsibility to get to the very bottom of the issue.

Cllr Holden went independent in 2022 after leaving the SNP.

As reported earlier that year, when he was housing and environment spokesperson, he already expressed disappointment over the situation.

He said at the time: "You don't just walk away from a school – if there are certain individuals or others that are responsible for this, then I fully intend to hold them to account on that."