New high school gets green light as plan now goes before Holyrood
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
Councillor David Kinniburgh
Councillor Rory Colville