A CONTROVERSIAL attempt to build a new secondary school on 'common good' land has taken a step forward.

East Renfrewshire Council has lodged a petition with the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking approval to build a new £24m Barrhead High School on Cowan Park in Barrhead.

Representatives of the Cowan Park Action Group have taken legal advice over contesting the council's move on the town's biggest green space.

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The council said the petition was necessary to release the land from 'common good' to allow the school to be built.

Last month a bill paving the way for the construction of a new school in Portobello Park in Edinburgh was backed unanimously by MSPs.

The Barrhead plan involves demolishing the existing school adjacent to the park and building a new school on football pitches. The council says it will then turn the original school into a green space.

It says the proposed location of the new school will take up to 37% less space in the park than the existing layout.

"The money we have generated to build the schools allows massive investment in the park to improve facilities," said a council spokewoman.

It is still awaiting a hearing date from the court say they would expect a final decision within six weeks of that date.

It is hoped the court action will help end the debate over whether or not it is legal to build in the park, allowing the school to be delivered on time in August 2015.

The council said it believed it was crucial the build programme was not delayed by future legal challenges regarding ownership of the park and the legalities of building on it.

Objectors have 21 days to write to the court.