Council chiefs have agreed the sale of a much-loved former north-east school despite community groups “begging” not to be made homeless.
New Aberdour Primary was axed in 2009 after it emerged the cost of providing education to its small number of pupils was too high, at £23,254 a head.
That was more £19,000 above the average figure at the time and it closed in July that year with the remaining children moving to Rosehearty.
Since then, however, it has provided a vital base for numerous local organisations, including the community council, the village’s WRI, a New Aberdour under 5s toddlers group and a pensioners group.
Now all face an uncertain future as they begin the hunt for new homes.
Last night, local authority bosses confirmed the building, which was built around 1960, had been sold to a developer.
The building was put up for sale last summer and documents detailing the property said it “lends itself” to a residential project.
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Bill Pitt, chairman of the New Aberdour, Tyrie and Pennan Community Council, said he had “begged” the authority’s Banff and Buchan area committee to reconsider the move.
But said he has been “saddened” after his pleas fell on deaf ears as the sale was given the green light.
Mr Pitt said: “We had met the area committee to basically beg them to keep the school open.
“We are saddened by the decision, but we have to move.
“We now want to help the other groups find new homes and we are working with the council on this.
“The school has been on that site for a long, long time and the community is going to miss it.”
Hope for the future may come in the form of the New Aberdour Parish Hall Committee, whose members want to speak with the organisations impacted by the sale with a view to potentially offering their venue for use.
A meeting is being arranged for next month.
Aberdeenshire Council, meanwhile, said it would work with the community groups to find alternative venues following their relocation.
The local authority confirmed the sale of the school to an unnamed developer.
The transfer to the new owners is expected to take three months.
Councillor Andy Kille, chairman of the Banff and Buchan area committee, hopes the site will still be able to help the village.
He said: “Many people living in New Aberdour and the nearby towns will have fond memories of the school, but I very much hope that the new site will benefit the community in a different way.”
The committee’s vice-chairman, councillor Michael Roy, said the council would do its “upmost” to find alternative accommodation “as soon as practicable”.