New high school gets green light as plan now goes be­fore Holy­rood

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­times.co.uk

Three res­cued on hills in 24 hours

COUN­CIL­LORS have given plans for a new 1,300-strong state- of-the-art high school a re­sound­ing vote of con­fi­dence.

Last Wed­nes­day, Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil ap­proved the plans, de­spite the fact the lo­ca­tion of the pro­posed Oban high school falls within the blast zone of a nearby liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG) stor­age plant in the town’s Lochavullin in­dus­trial es­tate.

The Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive had lodged an ob­jec­tion to the coun­cil plan, cit­ing the prox­im­ity of the LNG stor­age fa­cil­ity as a po­ten­tial ‘ma­jor haz­ard’.

The new build­ings would be lo­cated within the area of the ex­ist­ing Oban high cam­pus.

The coun­cil mounted a ro­bust de­fence of its pro­pos­als, how­ever, mov­ing quickly to re­as­sure pupils and the public that they were not at risk over the lo­ca­tion of the new school.

As the HSE - which is a statu­tory con­sul­tee - has lodged an ob­jec­tion, the plan has to be re­ferred to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment, which has 28 days to in­ter­vene in the mat­ter, if it de­cides to chal­lenge the coun­cil de­ci­sion. The new school, which will have a ca­pac­ity for up to 1300 pupils, is ex­pected to be built by spring 2018.

The coun­cil has al­lo­cated £13 mil­lion to the build­ing of the school, with the re­main­der of the £24 mil­lion pro­ject be­ing funded through the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s ‘ Schools for the fu­ture’ pro­gramme.

The coun­cil spokesman for plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, coun­cil­lor David Kin­niburgh, said: ‘We are minded to ap­prove this pro­ject which we feel will have a real ben­e­fit to peo­ple in Oban and Lorn for years to come.

‘The fo­cus of the coun­cil’s

plan­ning ser­vice is on mak­ing things hap­pen, sup­port­ing sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and re­gen­er­a­tion. In try­ing to at­tract peo­ple and in­vest­ment to the area, qual­ity fa­cil­i­ties for ed­u­cat­ing our young peo­ple are a must.’ The ca­pac­ity of the new school al­lows for a steady rise in the num­ber of pupils, based on school roll fore­casts and lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan ac­tions.

Coun­cil­lor Rory Colville, spokesman for ed­u­ca­tion and life­long learn­ing, said: ‘ We are fo­cussed on pro­vid­ing young peo­ple in Oban, Lorn and the Isles with the best pos­si­ble start in life and de­liv­er­ing a new school fit for the 21st cen­tury.

‘Ev­ery­one in­volved in ed­u­cat­ing and sup­port­ing our young peo­ple is com­mit­ted to re­al­is­ing the coun­cil’s am­bi­tion to make Ar­gyll and Bute a place peo­ple choose to live, learn, work and do busi­ness.

‘A new school will help to equip our chil­dren for the fu­ture; pro­vid­ing them with a fab­u­lous fa­cil­ity in which they can learn and suc­ceed, be am­bi­tious and re­alise their full po­ten­tial.

‘This is one part of an am­bi­tious £74 mil­lion in­vest­ment pro­gramme which will also pro­vide new schools for chil­dren in Dunoon, Kirn and Camp­bel­town.’

The pro­ject is be­ing pro­moted and driven by Hub North Scot­land Ltd., in part­ner­ship with the coun­cil and will see the cur­rent school site un­dergo sig­nif­i­cant changes over the next three years.

‘The new build­ing will be con­structed on the grass rugby pitch at the cur­rent school site, with the 3G pitch re­main­ing in use through­out.’

Once the new build­ing is com­pleted, pupils will move in and the old build­ings will be de­mol­ished, free­ing up much needed so­cial space for stu­dents and im­proved bus drop- off points and car park­ing pro­vi­sion.

The work on the new school is ex­pected to be un­der way later this year.

More in­for­ma­tion on the pro­ject can be found at: www. ar­gyll- bute. gov. uk/ new- oban­high- school

OBAN moun­tain res­cue team went to the aid of three peo­ple in 24 hours in two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents.

With the help of the neigh­bour­ing Glen­coe team, they res­cued an 18-year- old man when he be­came dis­ori­en­tated de­scend­ing Glen Etive’s Etis Slab at around 9.30pm last Wed­nes­day.

The fol­low­ing day, the Oban vol­un­teers were helped by po­lice to find a 29-year- old man and his 35-year- old wife. The pair had been walk­ing on Ben Cru­achan when poor weather wors­ened and they be­came lost.

Eight mem­bers of the res­cue team de­scended the hill and lo­cated the cou­ple be­fore guid­ing them to safety. In try­ing to at­tract peo­ple and in­vest­ment to the area, qual­ity fa­cil­i­ties for ed­u­cat­ing our young peo­ple are a must

David Kin­niburgh

TIMESLINE

Coun­cil­lor David Kin­niburgh

Coun­cil­lor Rory Colville

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