A new primary school could be built in Buckie as part of a massive housing development amid concerns classrooms in the area are reaching capacity.
Elgin-based Springfield Properties is considering a bid for up to 600 homes in the Buckpool area of the town to build on the popularity of existing projects.
Initial documents have already been submitted to Moray Council detailing that the houses could be built on fields either side of the approach to the community from the A98 Fochabers to Banff road.
Springfield has explained that demand for homes in the town remains high as commuting concerns have diminished during the coronavirus pandemic.
The application also includes the possibility of a new primary school for the town to help education facilities keep pace with the growing population.
Figures for the 2019/20 academic year show that Cluny Primary School was operating at 90% of capacity while St Peter’s was almost at bursting point at 98% – making it the closest to capacity in the whole of Moray.
Sonya Warren, chairwoman of the council’s children and young people’s committee, explained the authority needed to keep a watchful eye on growing populations.
She said: “There have already been pockets of development in Buckie which have been causing pressures.
“St Peter’s has been at capacity for a number of years and Cluny is at bursting point too.
“There are already other housing developments being built and in planning, more homes are only ever going to put more pressure on our schools, so it’s something we need to keep on top of.”
A review of schools in the Buckie area in 2017 recommended that a new-build High School and Cluny Primary should be considered.
Other schools in the town are less full with Millbank at 56% and Portessie at 69% during the 2019/20 academic year.
Moray Council has approved a vision to invest £300million in schools over the next 20 years as part of a review to ensure buildings are fit for purpose.
The initial documents submitted by Springfield estimates that 500 to 600 homes could be built on the site alongside the primary school.
The final number will be established once studies have been done to help formulate the final planning application.
However, the firm has explained that demand for homes in Buckie remain high amid the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dave Main, Springfield’s north managing director, said: “We have noticed an increase in demand across all of our sites, particularly at our Inchgower development in Buckie.
“We know that the pandemic has encouraged people to think about how and where they live and the sort of lifestyle they want.
“Larger homes within thriving communities, good garden space, potential for a home office and access to parks and green spaces are now proving even more appealing to potential buyers who are less concerned about commute times now that they can work more flexibly.
“We are looking forward to continuing to deliver high-quality homes in areas that people want to live in.”