Planning in Portlethen branded “a disgrace”

A PUBLIC meeting is to be held in Portlethen after it was revealed that plans for a new primary school at Hillside have been shelved.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Service have confirmed that, while a site has been set aside for a new school, there are no immediate plans to build the promised facility.

The local authority have said that the two existing primary schools in the town are currently under capacity, and there are other areas in Aberdeenshire in more urgent need of a new school.

At their August meeting this week, members of the Portlethen and District Community Council agreed to organise a meeting later this year to allow concerned residents a chance to get the facts.

Addressing the meeting on Tuesday evening, a member of the public who said that he is a parent helper at Portlethen Primary said that claims that the school could take on another 150 pupils were misleading.

He said: “Portlethen Primary could make room for more pupils, but it would mean losing their computer room, and music room, as well as putting pupils in wet areas with no windows or ventilation.

“It is a good school but how are kids going to enjoy their education when they are crammed in like sardines?”

The man added that he was “disgusted” that the planning process had allowed the housing at Hillside to be built with no supporting infrastructure.

He said: “It is disgraceful planning. There is no green space. I feel sorry for the people who live there. We need to come together as a community on this.”

Community councillor Dorothy Main agrred with the point, and added: “The only recreational ground that was planned for in the whole area is tied up with the school being built. If there is no school there will be no green space or community facilities.”

Another member of the public who is a resident at Hillside said: “It is not a well integrated development. I live there, I can assure you of that. The council are saying they will review the situation, but by the time they decide a school is needed it will be too late. We were promised this school throughout the planning process.

“Aberdeenshire Council is an organisation that doesn’t know what it’s doing, what it has said in the past, or what is planned for the future.

“Once the Hillside development is complete there will be approximately 400 kids. Where are they going to go? Houses and amenities should be built together, not houses and then amenities if and when the council can afford it.”

Community council chairman Ron Sharp said that a public meeting would be the best way forward.

He said: “This is a very emotive issue and a lot of people want to talk about it. I think we should organise an open meeting specifically to discuss these issues. The important thing is that the community comes together on this and everyone seems to have the same goal in mind.”