THE iconic school wall at Caledonia Primary School in Saltcoats has been ripped down in order to save money - a move that has been met with anger from local councillors.

North Ayrshire Council said that the condition of the wall had been a concern for a long time and that it was no longer viable for it to remain standing in its current state.

The wall is synonymous with the town and the school and it was removed recently by North Ayrshire Council who will replace it with a fence before the start of the new school year.

Local Labour councillor Jim Montgomerie told the Herald: “I walked past it one day and noticed it was down. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“I got an email from the council to tell me the wall was coming down, but it was sent to the wrong councillors, not me.

“By the time it was sent to me the wall was down. I told the council I was not happy about this.

“I am not saying I want to know everything that is going on in our area, but I need to know certain things so that I can explain to the public why they have taken these decisions. If I was asked what my thoughts were on the wall coming down I would have made it clear I didn’t want it to happen.

“The wall has been there since the school was built, it’s the same stonework as the school and the surrounding area properties. It did not look to me that there were any safety issues with the wall or it needed replaced with a fence. I am very disappointed I wasn’t consulted about this decision which will now have a visual impact on that area for the negative. Some of the residents who have contacted me are raging and rightly so.”

SNP councillor for Saltcoats, Jean McClung said: “A number of constituents have contacted me asking for information about the wall’s removal. Unfortunately, I was only informed of the decision to knock down this wall once it was already a ‘fait accompli’. I was told by the officer responsible that the wall was being removed as it was no longer economically viable to continue its maintenance, and that it will be replaced with a fence.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are sympathetic to residents who may have an emotional attachment to the stone wall, but there are safety concerns for its long-term condition.

“The age and construction type of the wall have resulted in various instances of sections becoming loose. Clearly in a school environment this is not a situation we can allow to continue.

“Repairs have been carried out previously, however as the wall has deteriorated over time these have become less effective and further instances of decay have occurred. Ongoing repairs would not only be costly, but would ultimately not guarantee the long-term stability of the structure.

“It is no secret that we are in a time of financial challenge and there is a need to protect our frontline services and find savings where possible. While it makes financial sense to replace the wall, the safety of our children is our greatest priority.

“The school is supportive of our plans and we anticipate that the new fence will be installed before the pupils return in mid-August.”