Group vows to carry on fight to save former Aberdeen school building

Victoria Road School.

A community trust today said it is determined to continue with its campaign to save a former school building after councillors voted to put it on the market.

Councillors narrowly voted 23 to 21 yesterday to put the former Victoria Road School site in Torry on the open market.

Work has been ongoing by Torry Development Trust to develop proposals which would see the former Victoria Road School buildings transformed, with ideas including affordable housing.

In December, councillors had been urged to approve plans to see the buildings flattened, but this was put on hold after an outcry by campaigners who wanted six months to develop their case to see the buildings retained before it was put on the market.

David Fryer, a member of the trust, said: “We’re meeting again sometime next week and we’re still going forward with the same vigour, energy and determination to develop the ideas and the plans that we spent three months on and it is still our intention to complete the exercise within six months.”

Mr Fryer added: “We feel disappointment that we have put the work in and demonstrated what we have been doing and we have come forward more than once to say ‘here’s what we have done, it’s a work in progress, just give us the time to complete the exercise’.

“We are not property developers, we’re a community enterprise.”

Councillor Douglas Lumsden, Aberdeen City Council co-leader, said members agreed a recommendation that the site is placed on the open market with the “clear intention” of retaining as many of the existing school buildings as possible.

He added: “This different approach takes into account the strong feelings which have been expressed by the community in Torry.

“We recognise Victoria Road School is part of Torry’s story and are demonstrating our will to preserve that built heritage if at all possible. The marketing of the site in this way will give us a clear indication of whether there is a viable proposal for its sale on this basis.

“We have engaged with the Torry Development Trust throughout the process and will continue to do so.

“Through the open marketing of the site there remains an opportunity for the Trust to take forward its plan for the site.”

The outcome of the new marketing exercise will be brought back to the appropriate committee after the summer recess.