Proposal to rezone Stonehaven primaries backed, but councillors still favour new school

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Councillors have repeated calls for a new primary school in a seaside town despite a rezoning exercise to alleviate pressure on school rolls.

Kincardine and Mearns area committee met at Viewmount, in Stonehaven, to provide an opinion on rezoning issues for primary schools.

Aberdeenshire Council officers are currently looking at the school network in Stonehaven due to the number of homes poised to be built in the seaside town.

Planned new homes fall within the zone for Dunnottar Primary School, which is already over capacity.

A report has gone before elected members on the committee before plans to realign the boundaries in Stonehaven are rubber stamped at the education and children’s services committee next week.

The local authority had highlighted three options including retaining the status quo.

While recommending an option to the local authority it, elected members added that a new school is still needed for Stonehaven.

Sarah Dickinson, Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor said: “While I accept the report and its option two to realign the boundaries, I still see this as a short term solution.

“In the long term we are still going to need a new primary school to replace Dunnottar.”

Her calls were echoed by fellow ward member Sandy Wallace and chairwoman of the committee Wendy Agnew.

Cllr Agnew said: “I believe we have been calling for a new school there since around 2003. It is my hope that we can get this onto the capital budget plan for next year.”

Option one for the schools were to realign the catchment areas of the three primary schools and re-distribute the rural elements of the Dunnottar catchment to Arduthie and Mill O’Forest Schools.

It would mean pupils who stay more than two miles from Dunnottar, and were eligible for free transportation, would become pupils at the two other primaries.

However the local authority is considering implementing option two that would see the rural element of the Dunnottar catchment area retained.

Councillors agreed with officer recommendations on option two to be recommended to the education committee on December 7.

Meanwhile, plans have been approved for Inverbervie beachfront to become part of a tourism project.

Committee members approved the plans for the Royal Burgh to become part of the charity Tour de Coast subject to funding being put in place.

It would see a numbered sign – dubbed a daymarks – around the UK coastline

Aberdeenshire Council was approached by the national charity that encourages visitors to coastal areas. The Inverbervie marker would be one of 42 in Scotland, and two in Aberdeenshire.

The daymarks are to give UK residents and tourists further incentive to visit more areas around the coast.

The project was welcomed by councillors on the committee.

Cllr Leigh Wilson, who represents the Mearns ward said: “One of the things we often here is south Aberdeenshire is often forgot about so I would welcome this project.

“If we can do more attracting more people to this part of the country then I think it is worthwhile of our support.

“There have been a lot of renovations done at the beachfront and I think this would help compliment that and be a good base to get people to explore the area further from there.”

The council has agreed to fund £2,000 for the foundations of the signs that would have Bluetooth enabled so visitors will be able to access information about businesses, attractions and amenities nearby.

Cllr George Carr, who also represents the ward added: “I think this idea could become a magnet for visitors the area.

“It could become a gateway to the south Mearns network and I would suggest we work together with groups like Brighter Bervie on the location of this.

“I’m very supportive of this and I think we can do more to up our game on tourism in Aberdeenshire and this has the potential to help.

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