Proposals for a new community campus in the north-east have taken a step forward and are being described as a “milestone” for the project.
Councillors on Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee agreed that parents, pupils and staff will be consulted to replace and relocate Peterhead Academy.
The formal agreement is part of the legal process for the multi-million-pound development.
A site on Kinmundy Road in Peterhead has been chosen as the prospective location with plans for a 1,400-pupil secondary.
Education officers at Aberdeenshire Council told the meeting it was a really important “milestone” for the £71 million project.
Councillors on the committee welcomed the report, however concerns were raised that school forecasts could put the facility over capacity by 2025.
Alan Fakley, Peterhead South and Cruden councillor, said: “This is an excellent project and I want to pay tribute to the hard work of officers so far.
“The capacity of the new school is 1,400. It states in the table that by 2025 the school roll will be 1,454. Which is a concern. Is the new academy big enough?”
However, education officers at the meeting said the forecast figures were from 2018 and the department was finalising new forecasts which showed it would be under the 1,400 and not over capacity when the campus opened.
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Chairwoman of the committee Gillian Owen said: “I’m hoping significant lessons have been learnt from being a member for Ellon and having an academy that is and continues to be an island in the middle of nowhere.
“There will have been significant lessons learned, or I am hoping there have been. My constant battle is we have a wonderful facility but it is miles away from the town centre.”
She added: “I’m delighted this is going ahead and getting the whole campus into the capital plan, which is key to getting the bricks on the ground.”
It is hoped the facility could open in 2025.
A report presented to the committee yesterday asked councillors to agree that a consultation be carried out with local stakeholders including parent councils, pupils, staff and the community.
It adds: “The statutory consultation must run for at least 30 days during term time and it would conclude on December 13 2019.
“The consultation exercise will ensure that, in the event that concerns or questions arise regarding the proposed new school, these can be addressed before substantial progress is made in the construction phase of the project.”