Evening Express

Council accused of ‘spin’ over £100 million Aberdeen schools plan

New schools could be built in Tillydrone, Torry, Milltimber and Countesswells

Aberdeen City Council’s ruling coalition has been accused of “spin” over a £100 million schools plan.

The local authority’s administration is to bring forward plans next week for a number of new schools across the city – one of the largest capital investments in Aberdeen’s school estates.

As reported in yesterday’s Evening Express, this will include schools in the Milltimber, Tillydrone, Torry and Countesswells areas of the city.

But SNP group leader Stephen Flynn has blasted the Conservative, suspended Labour and independent coalition for the proposed cost of the plan, adding costs appear to have “soared”.

He said: “To be clear we are in no way opposing these new schools but the spin being applied by the administration is simply inexcusable.

“Milltimber was first agreed in 2013, Torry and Tillydrone in 2016, and an attempt to bring forward the Countesswells build was actually blocked by the administration just four short months ago.

“On top of that, we appear to have £100m of taxpayers’ money being thrown about, yet in March the administration told us that the combination of Milltimber, Torry and Tillydrone would cost less than half that total.

“The reality is that costs appear to have soared as timelines have been allowed to slip, yet no explanation or apology has come from the Town House.

“Given the massive delays and overspend on Lochside Academy I’m in no way surprised at this revelation but the people of Aberdeen really deserve better.”

It was revealed in 2016 that new multi-million-pound primary schools would be built in Torry and Tillydrone, with plans for community hubs to also be built within each of the sites.

The council’s capital budget from March 2018 stated a new school in Milltimber would cost £13m, with new schools in Torry and Tillydrone costing £20m and £17m respectively.

In May 2018, members of the ruling coalition on the capital programme committee voted against an amendment to open a new school at Countesswells in time for the 2020/21 school year.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “Education is of the utmost importance to this administration.

“Creating top quality schools that incorporate early learning and community facilities are what matters here, and this administration is prepared to work with the Scottish Government and third sector organisations to achieve this.”