Director’s centre pledge

ABERDEENSHIRE’S Director of Education, Leisure and Learning, Maria Walker, has pledged that there will be no speedy decision on the future of the Mearns Community Centre and the facilities supplied from it.

The community centre is seen by the authority as surplus to requirements when the new Mearns Academy is complete.

Academy rector Ian Parkin told Mearns Community Council that the new school project was continuing apace and that there was a stakeholder meeting due next week.

That meeting would discuss access to the new school, with the safety of the children the over-riding priority.

Mr Parkin said HM Inspectorate would visit the school next week as part of the formal process to close the school and open the new building in 2014.

Provost Bill Howatson said a letter had been received from the Scottish Futures Trust asking Aberdeenshire Council to lower the unit costs on new school buildings.

He said this was actively being looked at to see what it means for Mearns and the new Ellon Academy.

Councillor George Carr said Maria Walker was at the area committee and had agreed that no facilities would close until everything had been worked out as to where user groups would go.

“There has been uncertainty and worry among users of the community centre, but the director agreed that nothing would be done to move people until solutions had been found to any problems.

“There have been significant issues as to where people might go if the community centre were to close.

“The council is going to look at all its assets in Laurencekirk and will have to decide when is the best time to realise them.

“A lot of factors will be taken into account and all the users will be consulted.

“There has been concern about the process which will be gone through, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

“We must do all we can to ensure that the high quality of work taking place continues in the future.”