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Assurances sought on Tain 'super-school' campus amid Highland Council lockdown pressures

By Philip Murray

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Tain Royal Academy is set to be replaced, along with several other local schools, by a new school campus serving three to 18 years olds.
Tain Royal Academy is set to be replaced, along with several other local schools, by a new school campus serving three to 18 years olds.

THE council is doing “everything it can” to prevent Covid’s knock-on effects from hitting the delivery of the new Tain 3-18 school campus.

Senior planning officer Malcolm MacLeod issued the reassurance when the matter was raised by Tain councillor Derek Louden last week.

Cllr Louden, who represents Tain and Easter Ross, sought assurances during the latest economy and infrastructure committee meeting.

One report mentioned that numerous areas of council operations were under increased pressure during the pandemic and lockdown – from road operations and bridge assessments, to flood management and the delivery of new affordable housing.

And it mentioned “areas of non-statutory service delivery” that could be reduced to help manage this increased pressure. This included possible delays to the “design of capital schemes”.

The Tain 3-18 campus is one of several capital schemes currently in the pipeline, and Cllr Louden wanted to know that this would not be affected.

He said: “I have been trying to find out how that project is developing but I’ve not had an awful lot of luck, so I’m obviously keen to see that that scheme isn’t slowed down or impeded in any way, because it’s tied to grant funding from the Scottish Government via the Scottish Futures Trust.

“We wouldn’t want to see any risk developing that that funding could in any way be lost through us failing to progress the scheme.”

Responding, Mr MacLeod said the report had been drawn up amid uncertainty as to how deep the lockdown might be, but that subsequent restrictions had not been tightened to the same extent as last spring.

“Although [the report] sets out areas where things could be reduced in order to manage pressures, it’s really about if things were to go into an even deeper lockdown,” he said, adding: “We are trying to do as much as we can within the constraints about distancing and health and safety requirements.”

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