Views vital as academy plan progresses

Councillors Stuart Pratt and Stephen Smith at Peterhead Academy
Councillors Stuart Pratt and Stephen Smith at Peterhead Academy

Another step towards a new secondary school for Peterhead was taken last week as local councillors backed plans to work up a business case for the proposals, looking at all options.

Councillors also said that the views of the local community on the location and range of facilities included in the new campus would be important going forward.

Members of the Buchan Area Committee were asked for their views as part of the ongoing process to develop plans to replace the existing Peterhead Academy buildings with a new campus.

The proposal for a new academy campus in Peterhead is one of the priorities of the SNP/Labour/Progressive Independent Administration which took over control of Aberdeenshire Council from the previous Tory/Independent Alliance.

Speaking at the Buchan Area Committee, Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith said: “It is important to understand that no decision has been taken on any of the possible sites for a new academy.

“The public meeting held in November produced a clear view in favour of the Kinmundy Road site but all councillors want to see further engagement with the community to get as wide a range of views as possible. Clearly, the business case needs to stack up in terms of applying for the funding to build a new academy and it’s important this takes all factors into account.

“As part of the process, we also need to have impact studies done on what this might mean for the town centre.

“There is an opportunity here if the academy ends up being on the Kinmundy Road site to develop the theatre and leisure provision we currently have on the existing site, so that it becomes a destination for people and can help contribute to, for example, the night-time economy of the town.

“There are some real opportunities here.”

Peterhead North & Rattray councillor Fiona McRae commented: “I’m pleased that this process is moving forward and the views of local residents will be important in this.

“We need to provide a modern school environment for pupils to achieve their best and it’s clear that the existing buildings need replacing.

“I’m keeping an open mind on the choice of site but one advantage of Kinmundy Road would mean a new Central School could potentially go on the existing academy site.

“Central School is also in need of replacement.”

Chair of the Buchan Area Committee and Peterhead South & Cruden councillor, Stuart Pratt, said: “Community facilities will be an important consideration in this and we must take full advantage of the opportunity that a new academy brings to get the best possible outcome in terms of theatre provision and leisure facilities.

“We have a good theatre in Peterhead which is used well by a number of groups, but there is an opportunity here to develop it further, potentially on the same site so it contributes to the town centre.”

Chair of the Education & Children’s Services Committee Cllr Alison Evison added: “It is really important for us to continue to listen to the views of the local community.

“We want to consider all opportunities to enhance the educational, sporting and cultural facilities in Peterhead, while also supporting local business and hence jobs.

“I’m looking forward to the discussions about the exciting possibilities for Peterhead at Committee.”