Ullapool parents “disappointed” over lack of nursery progress

BY LISA FALCONER

Ullapool parents have said it is “disappointing” that the fate of the village’s damp-infested nursery remains undecided, two years after they demanded Highland Council take action.

In July last year parents renewed calls for the local authority to act on the state of the Ullapool Primary School Nursery, where damp is so bad that pictures won’t stay on the walls.

At a meeting of the council’s education committee last week the nursery was discussed, along with others in the region, and it was agreed that survey work will be carried out to determine future priorities.

The nursery – housed in a portable building beside the primary school which was created as a temporary situation over 30 years ago –  currently caters for over 40 pre-school children. Those attending currently spend over 15 hours a week in the damp infested property.

With the building expected to be in use for even longer hours as a result of a new ‘Wrap-Around Care’ provision starting in August, youngsters could spend up to six hours a day in the nursery.

Ullapool-nursery

Parents pictured outside the dilapidated nursery

In addition to extensive damp, the parent council list of complaints include a rotten structure, mould, a leaking roof and windows, deficient wiring, little ventilation and insufficient toilet provision.

Wester Ross councillor Ian Cockburn said: “The education committee now know the money they have and we need to make sure Ullapool is on the list, and get it as high up the list as we can. They have admitted it is a big problem.

“It will probably be August or September before it goes in front of the committee again.”

Rev Alasdair Macleod, Free Church of Scotland minister in Ullapool and a member of the parent council, has a daughter attending the school. He said: “It is disappointing that this process continues to be drawn out over such a long period of time.

“While we are encouraged that the nursery replacement project is gaining momentum the fact remains that the building needs to be replaced now.

“Surely the Highland Council can see the urgency in allocating funds to deal with this building over the summer.”

He added: “We understand and appreciate that Highland Council has some difficult choices to make with regards to its future finances. But the most vulnerable – the youngest and the elderly in society – should not be penalised.

“A lick of paint on the outside, nor the industrial sized dehumidifier which has to be used every day in the building, doesn’t hide the fact that this building is not fit for purpose.”

lisa@whfp.co.uk