No plans for new primary school at Portlethen

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A PORTLETHEN man has blasted Aberdeenshire Council, accusing them of “another broken promise”, after it was revealed that a planned third primary school in the Hillside area of the town is not likely to go ahead.

The local resident, who lives in the Hillside area, was told that there are currently no plans to build the school after making a query to Aberdeenshire Council.

In a letter from the Education, Learning and Leisure Service, the resident was told that, while a site had been set aside for the new school, the two existing primary schools in Portlethen are not currently at capacity and, taking into account further growth, there is an expected surplus of just 68 pupils. The letter adds that temporary classrooms could be set up at Portlethen primary to cater for these pupils.

The concerned resident said: “We understood a third school was to be built and it was one of the major factors we considered when moving.

“I understand it was also a major factor in the planning application being approved. It seems it is just another broken promise from the council and people need to be made aware of this latest, very short sighted stance. Given the mistakes made previously with the sizing of the old and new academies you’d think they’d want to err on the side of caution for the future, but apparently not.

“I have responded to express my disappointment and concern at their approach. This is certainly not good news for anyone that has children attending or due to attend a primary in Portlethen. They are clearly planning to overload the existing schools in an attempt to save money! We are also left wondering where the £2m of planning gain from Stewart Milne has gone?”

The letter also says that the local authority will continue to review the situation: “There has been a requirement for the EL&L Service to critically review and re-assess its’ capital priorities due to a number of reasons including the allocation of Scottish Futures Trust funding from the Scottish Government to part fund replacement secondary schools at Ellon and Laurencekirk; the demographic changes in some parts of Aberdeenshire which have seen pupil numbers rise far in excess of existing school capacity; the reduction in overall capital funding and rising interest rates on borrowing.

Given the current and projected roll numbers for the existing Portlethen primary schools and for the other reasons indicated above, the EL&L Service will continue to review and re-assess its priorities with regard to its school estate in the Portlethen area to ensure that appropriate provision is made for pupils in that locality.