Consultation event on future of mothballed school is postponed

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A public consultation event on the future of mothballed Ardchattan Primary School has been postponed.

Argyll and Bute Council bosses were due to host the meeting on Wednesday June 13 but have announced the session is now off.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused,’ said a message sent out to people involved in the consultation last week.

A new date will be announced as soon as possible. Campaigners, wanting to save the school building for the community, have been told their views are still ‘very important’ and will be heard.

Ardchattan community councillor Breege Smyth is one of the campaigners working on setting up a community development trust to consider taking on the ownership of the building and running it as an activity hub, if the school is to stay shut.

‘Better they take time and come back with all the answers to the pages of questions we’ve  put to them. We’d rather have a delay than not get the information we want. Maybe that’s why they have needed more time,’ she said.

A council spokesperson said: ‘We have postponed the event to allow more time to ensure the process is carried out correctly.’

The council wanted to hear the public’s views as to whether it should continue mothballing the school, re-open it with its current catchment, widen the in-take area or close it for good. When it closed in 2014 it had room for 57 pupils but only had four on the register. If it was open now it would have 10 pupils but it would cost around £112,000 a year to run, says the council.

A full consultation started on May 18 this year and was due to end on June 29. On December 11, a report will go to the community services committee for a decision which will then be passed on to Scottish ministers.

Ardchattan campaigners have teamed up with a group from Achnamara, near Loch Sween, whose Ashfield school was temporarily shut in 2016. They also want to stop their school building from ‘sleepwalking’ into decay and disuse.

A space for workshops, evening classes, a pop-up cafe, bunkhouse or museum are just some of the ideas Ardchattan supporters have put forward.