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Highland Council vote confirms 10 school projects will not go ahead – for now


By Scott Maclennan

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Ten school projects and many other infrastructure budgets will not now go ahead.
Ten school projects and many other infrastructure budgets will not now go ahead.

A Highland Council vote has confirmed that 10 promised school building projects will not now go ahead – for now – at one of the longest debates seen at the local authority for a number of years.

A blistering review stated “rising capital costs and inflation” saw the cost of the capital programme rise from £475 million in March to £566 million in July yet the council can only afford £343 million over the next five years.

Despite that councillors were balloted on an amendment put forward by the Liberal Democrat opposition leader Alasdair Christie who argued for more time to explore options rather than formally wipe out the investment plans.

But it was defeated when members voted 35 for the new five year capital, 28 for the Councillor Christie’s amendment while four members abstained – effectively marking the end of the projects for the foreseeable future.

The school projects were not specifically cancelled but serious doubts remain about their viability given the multiple promises issued by the council over many years.

The school projects in question are:

  • Park Primary School – the budget went from £11 million to £250,000
  • St Clement's Special School – the budget went from £12.2 million to £500,000
  • Charleston Academy – the budget went from £14.5 million to £1.5 million
  • Culloden Academy – the budget went from £10 million to £3.5 million
  • Ness Castle Primary Phase 2 – the budget went from £7.8 million to zero
  • Beauly Primary – the budget went from £10.4 million to £800,000
  • Dunvegan Primary School – the budget went from £10.6 million to £1.5 million
  • Two proposed schools were cut
  • Stratton Primary – £22 million
  • East Inverness Secondary – £59 million

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