Old Mearns Academy site to be demolished

The old Mearns Academy site is to be demolished and the gorunds sold on the market
The old Mearns Academy site is to be demolished and the gorunds sold on the market

A former school in Kincardineshire is to be knocked down to make way for an open market after rejecting plans from a local group.

The former Mearns Academy building, in Laurencekirk, was voted to be demolished by Aberdeenshire Council’s Policy & Resources Committee.

However, councillors agreed to retain the playing fields.

A local community group, the Laurencekirk Development Trust (LDT), had expressed an interest in developing the building and playing fields as a ‘community asset’ and submitted plans for the site.

The committee rejected the proposals, but stressed that the door remains open for them to make further bids that are more ‘manageable’.

Mike Robson, LDT secretary, said: “We understand that the decision to demolish the school was not an easy one for them to make, but they did give us time to make our bid even though it is quite unusual for a community group to take on a project of this size.

“We were not surprised by the decision, but we now hope to move forward and see the playing fields being utilised the best way possible.”

Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, committee chair and council co-leader, mentioned that they were generally supportive of the Trust’s vision.

He said: “The committee was unanimous in its support for the efforts of the LDT in looking to the future.

“With support from the local area management team, the group has put in a huge amount of work into looking at the future options available for the former Academy and I’d emphasis that our decision to demolish the building and create a brownfield site opens up those options.”

Councillor Richard Thomson, vice-chair and co-leader, added: “We appreciate that local residents are very interested in making sure the site is used in a way that benefits the community and that will be taken into consideration once the site is available to be put on the open market.”