Argyll and Bute councillors today (Thursday) agreed to build a new school at the Kirn Primary site, near Dunoon, and to look to future funding packages to refurbish or rebuild St Mun’s and Dunoon primary schools.
The council’s third attempt to close the town’s crumbling primary buildings and house pupils in a single new campus were thrown out at today’s full council meeting at Kilmory after 65 per cent of parents rejected both options offered in a recent consultation.
Council leader Dick Walsh said: “This is not the end of the story.
“I am sure council officers will be bringing forward papers regarding Dunoon and St Mun’s primaries.”
Council officers recommended councillors to reject two options put forward for consultation – a three-school campus on the current St Mun’s site and a two-school on the current St Mun’s site and the refurbishment of the existing Dunoon Primary School
A new-build option at Kirn would attract Scottish Government part-funding – but only if the build is completed and operational by March 2018. Council officers feared that the council’s joint campus proposal could lead to further consultation after being ‘called in’ by the Scottish Government, resulting in the loss of the government’s Scottish Schools for the Future funding.
Officers asked councillors to agree to a proposal not consulted on – a new-build of Kirn Primary School on its current site at a total cost of £6.68m, with £3.35m potentially coming from the government.
In the consultation, which ended on February 9, a three-school campus option gained approval of 13 per cent of respondents, a two-school campus with refurbishment of Dunoon Primary School was approved by 18 per cent – and 65 per cent of respondents rejected both options. The remaining four per cent stated no preference.
Joint campus protester Lindsey McPhail gave a guarded welcome to the news, saying: “I am pleased to see that the message that the majority of people do not want a joint campus for the Dunoon primary schools has finally sunk in.
“If the council is to receive the government funding, they do have to act now, to meet the 2018 deadline, so I imagine that a new Kirn primary is the easiest option to meet this
“I would also hope however, that a clear maintenance and repair programme is set in place to ensure that Dunoon and St Mun’s are not allowed to deteriorate, whilst waiting on their turn.”
More in tomorrow's Standard.
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