Community council claims office plan concerns have been ignored
AMENDED plans for new Highland council offices in Fort William have ‘completely ignored’ concerns raised by the town’s community council.
Neil Clark, chairman of the Fort William public group, said the updated proposals for the old Fort William high school presented during consultation last week haven’t accounted for any complaints the community council originally made.
He said: ‘We were very disappointed when the plans were presented to us because it looks like we have been completely ignored. The school is a listed building which just isn’t suitable for the extension the council has planned. The extension looks like an agricultural metal shed and it’s far too imposing on the nearby hotel.
‘The council has land just 50 yards from this site [the former Fort William primary school] which could be used much more appropriately. I think this has all been cost- driven and the building will be falling apart in 40 years. The public consultation has been a sham.’
The former Fort William high school, at the south entrance to the town, has been empty for more than 25 years.
A Highland council spokeswoman said the building design has been altered to accommodate public opinion. She added: ‘The ethos of the development is to create modern flexible office accommodation which supports service delivery for our staff and customers.
‘The project team has endeavoured to provide the most appropriate solution, which will result in the re-use of the old derelict building and have a positive contribution to Fort William’s image.
‘The recent public exhibition in the West End Hotel brought some very positive comments from the public with the vast majority being very supportive of the council’s proposals to bring the old historic building back into use.’