Delineating catchment areas

In mid January Lord Uist decided Bowie v East Renfrewshire Council [2010] CSOH 6 on the delimitation of the catchment area boundaries for admission to St Ninian's High School in Giffnock.

The petitioner's family lives in Parkholm Gardens, Parklands Meadow, Glasgow and his daughter attends St Angela's Primary School in Glasgow City Council area. However, while most children attending St Angela's Primary School could attend St Ninian's High School the council argued that children living in residential developments built after a certain date could not do so. The council therefore proposed not a geographical boundary, but a limitation based on named streets. However, there was a map delimiting a boundary and while there was a consultation on the school catchment area by incorrectly delimiting the area the council consultation was flawed.

Lord Uist held (at para [26]),

"It seems to me that ERC have sought to give a far-fetched and strained meaning to that term by contending that it denotes a list of streets.  The existing streets within a delineated area at a certain point in time may certainly be specified (as they have been in this case) in order to elucidate or clarify the streets then existing in the area, but that does not convert the list of streets into the delineated area itself.  I refer in this connection to the statement made by GCC in response to the recent consultation process on St Ninian’s.  I would have thought that the meaning of “delineated area” was self-evident.  A delineated area is one thing: a list of streets is quite another thing.  The correct connotation of the word “delineated” was, I think, well expressed by Wells J in the Southern Centre of Theosophy case [an Australian case relied on by the petitioner, reported at (1979) 21 SASR 399] when he said that the core of the meaning of the word was to trace the outline of something on a map or plan. "

By reaching this decision Lord Uist therefore additionally held that the consultation was unlawful as the residents within the delineated area should be involved in the consultation.

The council confirmed earlier this month that it is not appealing the decision.