>> 19 March 2010


Local SNP councillors for Peterhead South & Cruden Stuart Pratt and Stephen Smith have dismissed press reports of fears that a Buchan primary school is under threat of closure as "nonsense".

A report in the regional press last night suggested that fears were being raised that Longhaven School could close. The school was earmarked for closure by the Liberal Democrat-led administration of Aberdeenshire Council in 2004 but the idea was dropped in 2005 after a successful campaign to save the school.

Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stuart Pratt – who spoke out against the closure and was responsible for raising the matter in the council in 2005 which resulted in the closure plan being dropped – said:

"The latest school roll projections for Buchan have just been published last week and they actually show the school will have 9 pupils enrolling this year which will take the roll up to 20. Thereafter, the school roll is projected to rise again in three of the next six years.

"I know of no suggestion that this school is being looked at for closure and these reports are simply nonsense."

Fellow SNP councillor Stephen Smith who was also involved in the successful campaign to prevent the closure of the school added:

"I think we can safely dismiss these suggestions that the school is under threat. Obviously, if the school roll was dropping to an unsustainable level then that might happen, but the roll is forecast to increase.

"Added to this, we have keen interest from developers who are looking to have land zoned for housing under the new Aberdeenshire Local Plan. While these proposals have still to be decided on, clearly any new development in the area would likely lead to a further increase in the school roll."

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