A COMMUNITY has launched a bid to save one of Scotland’s oldest working primary school buildings from redevelopment after rising numbers of pupils prompted plans for a new school.

The 1844 Victoria Primary, in Newhaven, Edinburgh, will be at capacity by 2018 and would need space for 100 more pupils in less than a decade.

A campaign to keep the the building next to the historic harbour and seafront in community or education use has been launched amid fears it could redeveloped as housing once a new school is built.

The Newhaven Heritage community group has spearheaded the campaign to save the building for the fishing community on the Firth of Forth and a petition has raised more than 400 of the 500-signature target.

The historic school dates to the days of the Society of Free Fishermen school, before under the leadership of a North Leith minister, the Newhaven Education Society bought the ground on which the structure is built.

The area is steeped in fishing history –the school has a small museum – and last year it was revealed when new class space was being built in the car park  the remains of an executed 16th century pirate were found.

Rising school rolls, in an area set to benefit but also put under pressure from a planned new tram system, mean Edinburgh City Council has drawn up proposals that include the new primary school in Newhaven and a change to the catchment areas between two schools, Victoria and Trinity primaries.

Victoria Primary, which is the oldest working school in Edinburgh, has a capacity of 259, with 254 pupils there currently and a projected  rise to 356 by 2026, while Trinity has a 546 capacity with 527 pupils currently and a projected rise to 561 by 2026.