School sell-off goes to vote

Coun­cil: For­mer pri­mary could be deemed sur­plus to re­quire­ments

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS - BY JAMIE ROSS

An aban­doned north-east pri­mary school could fi­nally be sold – nearly a decade af­ter the bell rang for the last time.

New Aber­dour Pri­mary School closed to stu­dents in 2009 af­ter it was re­vealed that the cost of pro­vid­ing an ed­u­ca­tion to its pupils was £23,254 a head – more than £19,000 above the av­er­age fig­ure for Aberdeen­shire at the time.

Coun­cil chiefs later ruled it had too few stu­dents to func­tion prop­erly and or­dered its clo­sure in July that year.

The re­main­ing seven pupils were trans­ferred to Rose­hearty’s school.

Since then, the build­ing has been used by com­mu­nity groups as part of a vi­sion by the author­ity to keep it in use rather than sell­ing it off.

At the last count, four groups – in­clud­ing an un­der-fives play­group and the lo­cal com­mu­nity coun­cil – were rent­ing the prop­erty.

But Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil now feels the vil­lage’s com­mu­nity hall would bet­ter serve these groups and wants to clas­sify the school it­self as “sur­plus” to re­quire­ments.

Win­ning the back­ing of the re­gion’s coun­cil­lors would kick-start a process to of­fer the for­mer school to other de­part- ments within the coun­cil or sell it off.

It will be voted on at Tues­day’s meet­ing of the Banff and Buchan area com­mit­tee.

In her re­port on the scheme, Maria Walker, the coun­cil’s di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren’s ser­vices, said the process of mar­ket­ing the school to po- ten­tial buy­ers had not yet started. She added: “The com­mit­tee is be­ing asked to agree that ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren’s ser­vices takes the first step by giv­ing no­tice of its in­ten­tion to de­clare the old New Aber­dour school and its cam­pus sur­plus to its re­quire­ments.

“There are cur­rently four lessees, who con­tinue to make use of the old school build­ing and it is felt by of­fi­cers that the com­mu­nity hall could have the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date these groups.”

The school – which was pre­vi­ously branded as “in­valu­able” by lo­cal coun­cil­lors – is used for about five hours a week by rent­ing groups.

“Com­mu­nity hall could have the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date these groups”

‘IN­VALU­ABLE’: Four groups use the for­mer pri­mary school for a to­tal of about five hours a week

Maria Walker

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