Council completes land acquisition for new Dingwall school

Council completes land acquisition for new Dingwall school

The land acquisition for the new site for St Clements School in Dingwall has concluded, the Highland Council has confirmed.

The purchase of the site was included in the one-year Capital Programme approved in March 2023.

Housing and Property Committee chair, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: “Sites suitable for school construction are finite across Highland and there has been much work carried out by our Property and Legal team to progress this land purchase.

“The Revised Capital Programme (2024/25 to 2028/29) impacted by a reduced level of funding and the unsuccessful LEIP 3 bid has required capital programme adjustment and whilst the council are not currently in a financial position to proceed with the build at this time, purchasing the land takes us a significant step closer.”

The School Estate Improvement Programme will continue to progress essential improvements to school buildings, including meeting the council’s obligations to address suitability issues (including adaptations for pupils with specific needs).

Cllr Campbell-Sinclair added: “We have 200 schools in our vast estate and, despite investing millions of pounds in delivering school replacements and essential care and maintenance in Highland, we still have 74 (37%) schools rated ‘C-Poor’ for Suitability.

“Nationally, the percentage of schools graded as ‘Good’ is nearly 91%, whereas in Highland it is just under 20%, subsequently the council has requested a meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss what investment options might be considered to ensure our school estate provides a conducive learning environment for children in the Highlands and provides greater equity with the rest of Scotland.”

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