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Replacement school for Turriff revealed after existing primary is branded unsuitable

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A Turriff primary school described as being no longer fit for purpose looks set to be replaced.

Markethill Primary School has been operating over its working capacity for 12 months with Councillor Sandy Duncan long calling for better facilities for children.

Planners will now ask local members to give the go-ahead for a new school on eight acres of land off Meadowbank Road.

Stephen Archer, the authority’s infrastructure boss, said the new school will have 18 classrooms, 112 parking spaces and synthetic playing pitches.

In his report to go before Formartine Area Committee, he said: “The standard of layout, siting and design is of a very high quality which should be commended.

“There is also a possibility for a future extension of four classrooms.”

The council had previously been locked in negotiations with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) over the use of the land at Meadowbank Road which was left in a will to the charity.

The BHF had suggested that the authority’s offers for the land had not reflected its true market value.

Stephen Morgan, head of legacy management at the BHF, said the organisation was bound by law to ensure its assets – including bequeathed land – are sold for market value.

He added: “Almost half of our income comes from people leaving gifts to us in their wills. Without them we would be unable to continue to fund much of our life-saving research.”

Plans for the £11million project to replace the school first went on show in 2013.

Councillor Duncan said: “Markethill Primary School is just not suitable. The school is over-crowded, and it has never been suitable for purpose, really.”

Last month, to prevent the school’s over-crowding from reaching tipping point, the local authority capped its school roll to 469 – 30 over the its intended working capacity.

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