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Appeal failure leads to school demolition

By David Porter

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AN Inverurie based community group has expressed its disappointment after plans for a community asset transfer of a former school in Inverurie were dismissed by Scottish ministers.

The Garioch Partnership had sought to obtain the former Market Place School in the centre of Inverurie when the building was replaced by the new Uryside School.

Aberdeenshire Council in turn revealed plans to demolish the site to turn in into car parking for the proposed new Council HQ which would be located in a newly built extension to the Town Hall.

Following refusal of the application for the community asset transfer of the property by Aberdeenshire Counci, the Garioch Partnership launched a lengthy appeal to Scottish ministers through the Department of Planning Appeals

In a statement released by chairman John Chapman and development worker Dawn Brown, it was revealed that the appeal has failed.

They said: “Following correspondence received on October 16 from Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, we are deeply disappointed to notify you (the public) that the asset transfer appeal has been dismissed.

“Within the letter from Ms Campbell quotes: “I appreciate this will be very disappointing news but I hope you are able to source an alternative solution for a third sector hub in the Inverurie area, and I understand from the report that Aberdeenshire Council has indicated their willingness to help you identify a suitable property.”

“The reasons for the dismissal are around best value use of the site, and the reporter states: “There is a stronger case for the council’s proposal to use the site for car parking to support its office space strategy than to support the community asset transfer.”

Noting their disappointment at the decision based on financial value they said: “The Garioch Partnership would like to assure the community that we did all we could to ensure the building would be retained for community use, and thank you all for un-wavering support to this local project.

“However Aberdeenshire Council have yet to do anything to offer another suitable property – despite an initial discussion of identifying other possibilities on February 12, and subsequent requests for further information on this from The Partnership, which was highlighted in the appeal submission to Scottish Government.

“We had hoped that a hearing would have been allowed as several years and information that were part of the initial submission would have been brought to light and taken into

consideration for review.

“We are disappointed and saddened that the Victorian built Market Place Primary School

building will be demolished and lost for the community, but remain committed to supporting

people in our community, community groups and local social enterprise, and doing all we can to support the growth of the third and community sector in Garioch within the diminishing budget constraints that TGP are working within.”

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