Evening Express

Rezoning plans could pave way for new £11 million primary school in north-east town

Locator of Fraserburgh North Primary School . Pic by Chris Sumner Taken 27/3/18

A rezoning exercise in a north-east town is due to restart – and could pave the way for a new £11 million school.

Aberdeenshire Council is due to reexamine the catchment areas for two primaries in Fraserburgh.

The consultation could ultimately mean that the Broch’s St Andrew’s and Fraserburgh North primary schools could merge and be housed at a new campus.

It comes after pupils from both schools recently visited the new Turriff Primary and were “amazed” by the space.

Charles Buchan, councillor for the area, said he was happy the rezoning exercise was due to restart.

As a former teacher, he has been campaigning for a number of years to see St Andrew’s and Fraserburgh North School replaced.

Ambitious plans for a new school – which could be built next to the current academy – were unveiled to parents last year.

However, Aberdeenshire Council still has to go through a statutory consultation regarding any potential plans and find funding in its capital budget.

Councillor Buchan said: “Following the visit to the newly-opened Turriff Primary by some North and St Andrew’s School pupils, they were amazed at the contrast between their old dark Victorian style buildings and the state-of-the-art bright airy new school, designed for 21st Century education.

“Following complaints from parents about the unsuitable zone boundaries, and the poor condition of the two old schools serving the centre and north parts of Fraserburgh, the previous SNP/Labour administration started this exercise with a series of consultations, and started thinking about a case to put to the Scottish Government for funds.

“It has been found difficult to find a solution that everyone in Fraserburgh wants, which agrees with Government guidelines, and can be afforded.”

The councillor has called for the community to back plans for a new school replacing the “deteriorating” buildings.

Mr Buchan added: “Other areas of Aberdeenshire have been steaming ahead with their plans, yet still parents from the outlying parts of Fraserburgh are having to drive their children past their nearest school to their allocated school every day. And the conditions inside St Andrew’s School and the North School are steadily deteriorating, with the potential bill to make them watertight and safe escalating into millions of pounds.

“The latest proposal, to replace the two old schools with a brand-new £11m replacement in the unused part of the academy grounds, if it is to go ahead, needs all parts of the community to support it, otherwise the present hiatus will continue, and Fraserburgh will lose out.”

An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said: “As part of an ongoing exercise we are currently looking at primary school provision in Fraserburgh. This includes the possible rezoning of school places as part of a wider package with the end goal of providing a new primary school in Fraserburgh.

“There will be further extensive engagement and consultation with parents and communities ahead of any decisions.”