Keep community centre

With work due to start on the new Mearns Academy community campus next month, with completion in Summer 2014, fears have already been expressed that the “community facilities” provided will be neither big enough or in the sit place to suit current service users.

At the suggestion of chairman Jim Stuart, Mearns Community Council is to call for the retention of the current community centre in Laurencekirk High Street and for groups like the Out of School Club and the Lunch Club to be allowed to remain there.

Mr Stuart said: “The Out of School Club has 40 kids and it is felt the area allocated at the new school will not be big enough.

“I am of the opinion that the best thing for the club is to be allowed to stay where they are.

“If the kids have to be bussed to and from the new academy to the primary school it will cost £10,000 a year in fuel.

“So many families have two parents working. The Out of School Club works and works well and I would not like to see us lose it.

“People are worried and we should support them to stay where they are.

“The south end of the town is full of elderly people, so the right place for things like the lunch club is also the community centre, right in the middle of the town. These people would not be able to walk out to the new school.

“It is questionable if the area being provided for community facilities is big enough. We should ask the council to give these groups some assurance that they can stay where they are at least for a couple of years, so that they can organise their lives.”

Mr Stuart is encouraged by the efforts being made by Aberdeenshire’s Community Planning Partnership.

He said: “It looks like they plan to engage with us and I am encouraged by the way they are going.”

The chairman is to circulate the proposals among community council members over the summer so they are ready for the ward forum in September.