No re­view is nec­es­sary for new high school plans - gov­ern­ment

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

THE £24mil­lion Oban high school pro­ject was given the green light last week.

Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil granted plan­ning per­mis­sion for the new school in Au­gust, but had to re­fer its de­ci­sion to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment af­ter the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive (HSE) ob­jected to the plan.

The HSE said the new school was within the outer blast zone of a nearby nat­u­ral gas stor­age plant. But the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment has given the new school plan the ‘all- clear’.

Pol­icy lead for the coun­cil’s plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, coun­cil­lor David Kin­niburgh, wel­comed this news, say­ing: ‘This is good news for peo­ple in and around Oban, mean­ing the pro­ject can move for­ward.

‘ We are de­lighted the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment has en­dorsed the de­ci­sion of the plan­ning com­mit­tee. 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.’

Coun­cil­lor Rory Colville, pol­icy lead 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 coun­cil is al­lo­cat­ing £13 mil­lion to this pro­ject, with the re­main­der of the £24 mil­lion cost be­ing funded through the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s Schools for the Fu­ture pro­gramme.

The ca­pac­ity of the new school al­lows for an in­creas­ing num­ber of pupils, based on school roll fore­casts and lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan ac­tions. The pro­ject is be­ing taken for­ward 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 pupils and im­proved bus drop- off and car park­ing pro­vi­sion.

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