Skye councillor John Finlayson is encouraging people to get involved in the consultation process for a new school for Dunvegan, which he believes will be “transformational” for the village and neighbouring communities.
The Highland Council is due to hold the first of two in-person public consultation events at Dunvegan Primary School on Wednesday (19th), between 3 pm and 6 pm, and is urging community members to get involved and have their say.
An online session will be held later on Wednesday, between 7 pm and 8 pm, to provide a chance for those unable to attend the daytime event to participate in the process.
The council is proposing a master plan for the area which would include a new replacement primary school.
The school development will be conducted in phases with the initial phase comprising a new nursery and nursery external play area, dining area, games hall, and school access. Classrooms, a general-purpose room, and other infrastructure have been earmarked for completion in a second phase.
The master plan also includes 15 affordable housing units developed by Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, as well as an area set aside for a community sports pitch.
The events will offer a chance for feedback to be collected on the main proposals while also providing information.
The minimum 12-week consultation period for the proposal of application notice (PAN) expires in June, after which a full planning application can be prepared for submittal.
Funding for the first phase has been approved by the council, however, finance for phase two has not yet been identified – phase one will be progressed but both phases will be included in the planning application.
Speaking to the Free Press ahead of the first event on Wednesday, councillor John Finlayson said: “The meetings in May and June are an essential part of our drive to get a new school for Dunvegan which sits as an integral part of the master plan ambitions the community has – which will include a school, housing, a sports pitch and an area for the Dunvegan Show.
“It is important that community engagement and opinions are received which support the ambitions we all have, as the strength of any bids and lobbying are so reliant on a collaborative and united community approach to the master plan. I believe this will be transformational for the Dunvegan and the surrounding communities.”
Dunvegan Community Council Chair John Laing told the Free Press: “The community council is delighted with the rapid progress made this year by councillor Finlayson and the council officers concerned to bring forward the much needed new school and associated facilities for Dunvegan.
“The provision of the new school will deliver a new football pitch and community facilities for the village and hopefully a long-term home for the Dunvegan Agricultural Show.
“The master plan is now available for our community to examine and to comment on, and, of course, there will be a housing development alongside the school and football pitch, so there is much to consider.”
While enthusiastic about the progress made so far, Mr Laing added: “However, the community council is concerned that all the funding is not yet fully in place and we have written to the Highland Council Leader Margaret Davidson, the council’s chief executive, and the Skye councillors to ask them to work with the Scottish Government and other funding bodies to ensure that the new school is delivered in one phase not in two phases as is currently proposed.”
The second consultation meeting will take place at the primary school on Wednesday 23rd June between 3 pm and 6 pm, with another online session is scheduled for between 7 pm and 8 pm on the same day.
To attend either of the online meetings, please email CLEstates@highland.gov.uk for the link. Comments on both events can also be submitted to the above email address.