For­mer school build­ing se­cured

The Oban Times - - News -

WORK to tidy up the derelict re­mains of the for­mer Up­per Ach­in­tore and Fort Wil­liam pri­mary schools, de­scribed by one con­cerned res­i­dent as a ‘ war zone’, is fi­nally get­ting un­der way.

Since the schools were closed and the pupils moved to a new, amal­ga­mated Lun­davra pri­mary in 2015, the build­ings have been ne­glected, much to the con­cern nearby res­i­dents.

While the old Fort Wil­liam Pri­mary School is due to get a new lease of life when it gets turned into High­land Coun­cil of­fices and a Job Cen­tre, the Up­per Ach­in­tore build­ing has been van­dalised and was bro­ken into in Au­gust 2016.

The build­ing is in such a state, with bro­ken win­dows, lit­ter and graf­fiti that one con­cerned Up­per Ach­in­tore res­i­dent told the Lochaber Times it would be ‘no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say it looked like a war zone’.

When asked how the build­ing came to be in its cur­rent state and if any­thing was to be done about it, a spokesper­son for Po­lice Scot­land said: ‘ We are aware of on­go­ing is­sues and li­ais­ing with the lo­cal au­thor­ity.’

How­ever, lo­cal res­i­dents had been los­ing faith that any­thing was ever go­ing to be done to se­cure the build­ing to pre­vent van­dals or to clean up the mess.

Iain King, who lives near the for­mer school, said: ‘Any­time you com­plained [to the coun­cil] noth­ing was hap­pen­ing.’

But last week a High­land Coun­cil spokesper­son said coun­cil of­fi­cials had vis­ited the site on Tues­day April 11 to see the dam­age for them­selves.

She added: ‘Com­mu­nity Ser­vices are ar­rang­ing to clear de­bris and re­move a dam­aged shed. More win­dows will be boarded on the school build­ing, the jan­i­tor’s house and gates will be se­cured and fenc­ing re­paired.’

The coun­cil has stuck to its word and have made some im­prove­ments to the se­cu­rity and ap­pear­ance of the build­ing.

The spokesper­son said: ‘The com­mu­nity ser­vices team has done a great job clear­ing up. They have got most of the glass and de­bris cleared.

‘A large skip was filled and they have se­cured the sec­ond floor win­dows that were used to ac­cess the build­ing. The jan­i­tor’s house is now com­pletely boarded up and breaches to the fenc­ing have been fixed. The pitch is still open for use by lo­cal res­i­dents but ac­cess to the rest of the site should not oc­cur.’

Mr King said: ‘The main is­sue was that it took them so long.’

The coun­cil added there is noth­ing more it can do at this stage but it urges any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the van­dal­ism or who sees any­one in the grounds to con­tact po­lice on 101 or Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555 111 or use the Crimestop­pers on­line form at https:// crimestop­pers-uk.org/.

Pho­to­graph: Abright­side Pho­tog­ra­phy.

The for­mer school build­ing has now been se­cured but it has been van­dalised re­peat­edly over the last cou­ple of years.

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