New Nairn Academy planning application lodged

New Nairn Academy planning application lodged

A planning application has been submitted for the construction of a replacement secondary school, car parking, sports pitches and demolition of the existing Nairn Academy.

Balfour Beatty has been appointed as the design and build contractor and Reiach and Hall Architects are the Highland Council’s agents working in conjunction with the council’s in-house property teams to deliver the project.

A replacement school building for Nairn Academy was included in Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme announced in December 2020, and funding for the project is included in the reprofiled capital programme approved by the council in January 2021.

The scope of the project is for a complete school building replacement with the changing pavilion, synthetic pitch and grass rugby pitch retained.

The new building is programmed to be operational from August 2026 with the demolition of the existing building and external works to follow.

Meanwhile, the local authority has agreed to a new approach to future strategic Capital Planning to enable the council to determine priorities for capital spend and help to accelerate asset rationalisation.

The council owns more than 3,500 assets and is conducting a full review of its asset base in light of significant challenges in maintaining its estate, which includes schools, public buildings and offices, roads, bridges, parks, and monuments. This will map current council and partnership provision. The approach will bring better coordination, strategic oversight and direction and improved utilisation of available capital and revenue budgets.

Chair of Housing and Property, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: “The council owns a vast number of properties and other assets, and it is time critical that we reduce, manage and improve the functionality and efficiency of each. This work, together with the proposed land audit, will help us to reduce our costs, seize economic opportunities and maintain risk appropriately.

“We are facing incredible cost pressures in the shape of inflation, high rates of interest, reduced funding and inflated construction costs which together are all extremely challenging. Our property maintenance and energy costs far outweigh the available budget.

“This approach outlines robust methodology to assess need and risk, will enable us to better streamline our assets and align them to ensure effective and sustainable public service delivery in Highland.”

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