East Renfrewshire Council is moving ahead with proposals to develop a shared education and leisure campus in Neilston.

At a meeting of the local authority’s education committee last week, councillors approved plans for the multi-faith campus after the results of a formal six-week consultation were shared.

More than 500 responses were received, with the majority declaring support for the plans.

The Learning in Neilston consultation considered the potential for creating a shared campus for Neilston Primary, St Thomas’ Primary and Madras Family Centre.

It is being proposed that the development will be on the current site of Neilston Primary, as a feasibility study has shown this location is large enough.

The St Thomas’ Primary site was also considered but was not big enough to include both schools and the family centre.

A total of 71 per cent of pupils who responded to the consultation were in favour of the plans.

Staff at Neilston Primary and St Thomas’ Primary also showed their support, along with the Catholic Church’s Paisley Diocese and Neilston Community Council.

In addition, 61 per cent of non-statutory respondees, the majority of which were local residents, were in favour of the proposals.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, East Renfrewshire’s education and equalities convener, said: “This is a major milestone for this project and having such positive feedback from the consultation allows us to move forward with confidence.

“We will now ensure we are prepared to start developing this new shared educational and leisure campus as soon as is possible and will look to utilise any new funding opportunities which may arise.

“We will continue to work closely with the community as these plans progress and I look forward to being involved in this work.”

Although funding for any potential development has not yet been identified, the positive consultation response will now allow plans to be progressed.

Having completed this work, it also ensures the council will be ready to take advantage of any future investment programme to support the development.

The move is being progressed due to the current condition and suitability of both school buildings and the family centre.

Major refurbishment and redesign of the current buildings would be required to ensure they meet the educational needs of pupils, with a £2.8million maintenance backlog already identified across the three sites.

Council chiefs have pledged that any future shared campus would retain the unique identities of both schools, with each having its own headteacher and Parent Council.

As a significant number of additional homes are planned for the area in the coming years, the council said it is considering the best options to ensure the area’s educational provision meets the growing needs of the community.

The existing Neilston Primary site would also be able to provide opportunities for including a new library and sports centre for the village.