22 July 2022

Stonehaven and Fraserburgh school projects move to next stage of consideration

Projects for new schools in Stonehaven and Fraserburgh have taken a step forward, with councillors agreeing to move the projects to the next stage of consideration.

For Stonehaven, the intention is to replace Dunnottar School and Carronhill School on another site within the town.

The project was added to the council’s Capital plan in April, and a public meeting was held in May. Informal engagement has been taking place since last August with various stakeholder groups, alongside initial planning and feasibility works.

Following an update on progress, the Kincardine & Mearns Area Committee has agreed that the Ury playing fields, next to Mackie Academy, should be adopted as the preferred location for the development.

The schools would have capacity for 217 pupils at Dunnottar School and 48 for Carronhill School, each with their own accommodation and with access to shared facilities, as part of a campus approach.

The project will now move to the next stage of consideration, known as Gateway Stage 2, allowing for more detailed design and cost planning to take place. No final decision has yet been made on the plans, nor has a planning application been submitted at this stage.

Kincardine & Mearns Area Committee chair Cllr Wendy Agnew said: “The need for replacement facilities for these schools has been established for some time and the campus approach would allow for co-location while still providing independent facilities for each of the schools.

“This project will require careful and specific design consideration to appropriately meet the needs of the children, parents and staff of both schools, and there will be further opportunities for community input before any formal decisions are made.”

A similar campus approach is proposed in Fraserburgh, where there are plans to replace Fraserburgh North School and St Andrew’s School with a single school on a new site.

The project, which would accommodate 450 children, was added to the council’s capital plan in November last year.

Informal engagement activity has been underway since August last year, involving parents, staff, and wider community stakeholder groups. Further engagement will continue throughout the year.

In terms of location, the Banff & Buchan Area Committee has endorsed Fraserburgh Academy as the preferred site for delivery of the new school, and agreed that the project should move to the next stage of consideration, Gateway Stage 2.

During a public meeting in May, feedback showed a preference to replace the current school nurseries in what is currently the St Andrew’s School Infant Building, subject to refurbishment.

A statutory consultation would be required prior to any formal approval of the proposals being made.

Banff & Buchan Area Committee chair Cllr Doreen Mair said: “It is felt that the Fraserburgh Academy site is the only location that would provide the necessary space for the new school which, due to its proposed catchment area, needs to be in the town centre. The campus approach would allow for a building that would have its own identity while benefiting from shared facilities.

“The public engagement that has taken place so far has highlighted a number of areas for the council to focus on as the project develops, and discussions will continue with community before any formal proposals are made.”

Work on both projects will continue over the coming months, with this stage of consideration due to continue until spring next year.

Education & Children’s Services Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen said: “It is pleasing to see these projects moving to the next stage of consideration and development.

“These are important projects for the Stonehaven and Fraserburgh communities and the campus approach is one that we’ve seen successfully implemented in Alford and Inverurie in recent years. I look forward to these projects developing further.”