The preferred option for the location of a new Thorn Primary School in Johnstone is to build on the same site, a senior Renfrewshire Council officer has said.

It’s been agreed the local authority will fully fund the replacement facility, with the SNP administration recently earmarking a further £4 million for the project – adding to the £10m sum previously committed.

The venture was previously described as the “talk of the steamie” in Johnstone by Councillor Iain McMillan after the council was unsuccessful in securing monies from the Scottish Government’s learning estate investment programme.

The Labour group leader, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie, raised the issue at Thursday’s education and children’s services policy board and asked if officers had a site in mind.

Councillor McMillan said: “I’m obviously delighted it’s been agreed to fully fund the new school and having spoken to the school community, if you like, they’re obviously really pleased. That’s good.

“But we move on very quickly and I suppose the next question for a lot of people is where is it going to be sited, where is it going to be located?

“I haven’t heard anything about that. Now I don’t know if it’s all confidential and you’ve got a bit of land earmarked somewhere – I’m not entirely sure – or are you going to build on the existing site?

“It would be interesting to hear what the thinking is about the new building and also the timescale as well.”

Janie O’Neill, director of children’s services, said the council was at “the very early stages” of the process but understood the community would have questions about the plans.

She added: “We will be undertaking that engagement in the very near future and giving the appropriate information around the plans around Thorn Primary and what’s going to be happening next.”

Ms O’Neill then brought in Gerry Lyons, interim head of education, who shed further light on where the school, currently in Thorn Brae, could be located.

Mr Lyons explained: “At the moment, the preferred option is to rebuild on the same site and there is space to do that, so that’s kind of where we are just now.

“If it’s built on the same site and effectively it’s the same school, it doesn’t have a requirement for statutory consultation.

“However, one of the things we’re very aware of is that ongoing need for community engagement, so the next stage for us is to engage with the community around the site potential, the preferred option for the site, and their views on that, and also to engage with them around design issues, so that we can get their feedback and they feel that it’s not just a school that’s landed, that actually it’s something they’ve been involved in right from the start.

“That will then affect the completion date and we’re at the very early stages of project planning but certainly [in] a future update, I’ll be able to tie that down for you when we’ve got that tied down.

“We don’t have that just at the moment.”

Councillor Emma Rodden, board convener and SNP representative for Johnstone North and the surrounding villages, added: “I very much look forward to getting involved with that and for all the elected members within the community to get involved too and roll that out to the public.”