Plan to transform north Skye school into community hub

Plans to transform the site of a disused primary school at Borrodale in Glendale, north Skye, into a community hub have moved a step closer following the submission of a planning application to Highland Council this week.

The plan will see the old school turned in to a hostel, the schoolhouse refurbished, and a bistro pub and gallery located in a new building.

Joy Talbot, chair of the Glendale Trust, is convinced that the proposal will not only safeguard the building for future generations, but also provide major economic benefits for the community.
“We carried out an extensive community consultation and feasi­bility study, and the overwhelming view was that we need to do something that will make use of a community asset, but also be economically sustainable,” she said. “Our hope is that the proposal will attract more visitors to the area as well as improve the recreational and social provision for the community.”

Skye-based architects Dualchas have drawn up the design, and according to project architect Neil Stephen, respecting the existing school building was critical in the approach.
“The school and schoolhouse will remain the focal point of the site, but we are proposing to remove the unsightly rear annex and the clumsy extension to the front of the school,” he said. “The additional buildings will be distinctive and clad in larch, including a laundry building and a biomass store.  The aim is to make the most of the site, creating a public garden within the stone wall enclosure and giving the bar stunning views to the coast.”

The Borrodale school proposal is just one of several ambitious projects which the Glendale Trust are undertaking. These include afford­able housing, the redevelopment of the pier and surrounding area at Meanish Point, community transport provision and a farmers’ market. The vision of the trust is to develop projects which meet the identified needs of the community, comple­ment the area’s natural beauty and already renowned high-end busi­nesses which include the Three Chimneys restaurant, Glendale Salads, The Red Roof Café Gallery and Skye Weavers.

Pictured are trust members Elgar Finlay, Richard Powell and Joy Talbot.