A row over developer contributions for a new city school has been resolved, paving the way for work to begin in a matter of weeks.
Earlier this year it emerged the Countesswells School project was in jeopardy because of the wrangles amid a disagreement between Aberdeen City Council and Countesswells Development Limited (CDL).
Local authority officials feared the school – the first of three to be built in the new community in the west of the city – would have to be scrapped.
However, it is understood the issue has been resolved, and work on the building – which was initially due to open this year – will finally begin in the coming weeks.
The site will be handed over to contractors later this month, with the long-awaited opening of the new school expected in time for the 2023/24 academic year.
School news is ‘relief’ for community
Local councillor Martin Greig, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesman, described the news as “a relief”.
“Parents and pupils have been extremely patient in waiting for work on the school to move on,” he added.
“This is a brand new residential area in the city that desperately needs this primary school to happen without delay.
“I am delighted that we now have a definite plan of action. Autumn 2023 seems a long time off and I am keen that there are no further hold-ups in the construction timetable.”
Building is ‘basic need’ for area
In April, at a private meeting of the local authority’s capital programme committee, councillors agreed any delay to the school project “lay solely with the developer and not with the council”.
Children living in Countesswells currently attend the former Hazlewood School building, located more than three miles away on King’s Gate.
The new building is one of four being constructed in the city at a combined cost of £100 million.
However, the Countesswells facility is now expected to cost £18.9 million – more than £6 million less than originally predicted.
CDL previously put the delays down to “economic turmoil” caused by Covid-19 and described the school as “an important and much-needed element of the social and physical infrastructure of the growing community at Countesswells”.