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Work grinds to halt on Beauly and Park Primaries, Culloden Academy and St Clements amid loss of funding

By Scott Maclennan

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St Clements, Charleston and Culloden Academies and Beauly Primary.
St Clements, Charleston and Culloden Academies and Beauly Primary.

Highland Council seems finally ready to admit that it cut the budgets to 10 major school projects conceding to a “reduced level of funding over the coming years” despite protestations otherwise.

A number of councillors tried to argue that despite clearly slashing budgets by the tens of millions no cuts were made and the schools were “deprioritised.”

Now, along with that admission, is the vision the council has for those schools and the view presented is stark.

A report to the housing and property committee outlines: “No further design work will be carried out on the Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary and Park Primary projects.”

And a sure indication that unless something drastic changes there will be no change for the aforementioned schools for at least three years: “Planning applications will not be submitted as any permissions obtained would expire after three years.”

In slightly better news for two schools – Charleston Academy and St Clement’s School – they appear to have risen to the top of the pile of priorities, if any money does become available.

The report stated: “Work will continue on the designs for the Charleston Academy and St Clement’s School projects to develop both to a similar stage as the above projects (i.e., end of the Concept Design Stage) if funding were to become available at any point in the future.”

But again no “planning applications will not be submitted” because there is not likely to be any improvement in the outlook to actually complete the projects for at least three years.

There were more details on the purchase of a site for a new St Clements but again the school that has waited by far the longest in the region for any real progress there will be a wait.

According to the paper: “The acquisition of the new site in Dingwall for St Clement’s School will be concluded this financial year, using funding included in the one-year Capital Programme approved in March 2023.”

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