Buchan Area Committee today (Tuesday September 15) agreed to make a recommendation to Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee that proposals for the replacement and relocation of Peterhead Academy to a new site at Kinmundy are adopted.
The education committee will discuss the proposals on Thursday October 8 and if these are formally agreed then further steps will be taken to consult on the relocation of a number of primary and special schools in the area before further detailed work on the tender and then the design process can begin.
The latest discussion follows the completion of an independent town centre and socio-economic impact assessment, undertaken further to the request of the committee and after a public consultation on the relocation of the secondary school concluded at the end of last year.
A Peterhead Business Town Centre Survey was initially carried out in August 2017. The new independent report studying the impact of the relocation on town centre businesses has highlighted that staff spending in Peterhead is across the town and not specific to the town centre as things stand currently. It also highlights that the retention of community facilities in the town centre and further redevelopment of the existing academy site would reduce any loss of town centre-specific spending further.
Area committee chair Cllr Norman Smith is keen to underline the importance of ensuring fantastic new facilities for the young people of Peterhead are completed without unnecessary disruption to existing school pupils. He said: “Building on the existing site would lead to a phased demolition and construction programme, and years of temporary accommodation elsewhere for our pupils.
“The Kinmundy site will give us the chance to develop an impressive new community campus, with on-site outdoor sports provision and limited impact on the town centre. The staff and pupils will continue to invest in the town and the new facility will be arguably nearer to where is now our main ‘population centre’. And, the existing academy site can be redeveloped into something which is far more fit for purpose in terms of community use. Alongside the vast majority of those participating in our extensive consultation exercises, I see it as a ‘win win’ situation and something for the people of Peterhead and the surrounding area to look forward to.”
Vice chair Cllr Dianne Beagrie added: “This is a significant investment into Peterhead that’s still on the table in these very challenging times. £71m is earmarked from Aberdeenshire Council’s Capital Plan and further funding has been committed by the Scottish Government – the construction phase will create jobs and attract further spending in our town.
“Let’s look forward together at the wonderful new learning environment so many of our young people will be able to enjoy. Our aim is for construction to begin in 2023 and for the building to be completed in 2025. Having visited Alford, Ellon and Inverurie where their new campuses demonstrate just how much of a boost these facilities are to their local communities, I cannot wait for work to get underway.”