The opening date for a new primary school in Moray has been pushed back yet again.
Students at Linkwood Primary School in Elgin were initially expected to be walking through the door after the summer holidays.
However, that date was pushed back to October next year.
Now the latest estimate is that it will be March 2020 before the classrooms are ready to host their first lessons following a series of wrangle over ownership of the site.
Yesterday, Moray Council insisted documents had now been lodged with land registry officers in Edinburgh and it was confident the latest date would be met.
The £11.5million project is currently about £830,000 over-budget amid warnings that any more delays could add another £300,000 to the price tag due to the cost of expanding the school’s temporary home at East End Primary School.
Elgin City North councillor Paula Coy asked for an update on the proposals during yesterday’s meeting of the council’s children and young people’s committee.
Nick Goodchild, educational resources manager, said: “We have been through planning. There are 17 conditions which will need to worked through before work can begin though.
“We have to do an archaeological survey as well as some others, which are not unusual for a project like this and we are not expecting any significant problems. We are still on target for a March 2020 handover.”
Springfield Properties is responsible for preparing the site for the school before the council’s own contractors can begin construction.
Meanwhile, the committee has also agreed to consider whether a review of the Elgin High School ASG (associated school group) is necessary.
Education officers have recommended the investigation in order to ensure that classroom capacities in the area keep pace with housing construction.
About 2,500 homes are expected to be built in the south of the town over the next 20 years.
The roll at Greenwards Primary School is forecast to be about 70 over its current capacity in 2021.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor Derek Ross raised concerns construction had begun on homes in the south of Elgin near where the proposed school at Glassgreen is expected to be built in about a decade and not near the Linkwood site.
The council’s acting director of education and social care, Graham Jarvis, explained it was a “commercial decision” by Springfield outside of the authority’s control.
Mr Ross added: “It’s a shame when decisions like this impact on the council’s planning.”