Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Delnies School - lessons for the future?

Local objectors to the Highland Wide Local Development Plan (HWLDP) told the recent public inquiry that:

The Academy is at capacity and the building constrains academic achievement.”

This begs the question where children that would live in Sandown, Delnies and South Nairn would be educated when/if these future developments go ahead. The reporter to the inquiry had a response to this, he wrote:

” In Policies 17 and 18, I note that developer contributions to education provision may be required. This adequately addresses the concern regarding space for pupils.”

You can find this and other matters relating to the development as far as it concerns Nairn from page 609 onwards on this document.

How any cash gathered from developers would be spent remains to be seen. Would a new school be built on Delnies? A document that went before the Highland Council’s planning committee back in July of last year did speak of a new primary at Delnies:
The Concept Masterplan incorporates an illustrative residential layout. This showsthe bulk of the housing on the southern half of the site with a smaller residential zone along the northern margins. In between, land is safeguarded for a large central green and play area including playing fields and a site for a new primary school. Links are shown through to the Sandown site and indicative landscaping on the east and west boundaries. The site also incorporates the tourism/heritage centre at Easter Delnies. The design indicates that the houses will generally be 2 storeys rising to 3 to 4 storeys at appropriate locations.”

The document also talks Potential financial contributions to primary and secondary school shortfalls in a section 75 agreement. You can read this document here.

So we may one day see a new school out at Delnies. It is worth remembering that there was a school out until the mid 80's though and a very good one too it seems. It was closed in 1985 after a long campaign to save it. The school was recorded on the BBC Doomsday pages at the time thus a snapshot of that time can be viewed here. Any former pupils of the school might be interested in a facebook page created by Jacob Christensen

Iain Bain, a former pupil at Delnies told the Gurn, “Its closure had been mooted for decades before. It was a live issue in the 1950s, early 60s when I attended. In the early 60s it narrowly escaped closure. Attendance hovered around the 50 mark and it was a two-room, two teacher affair. The former Moray and Nairn authority was very keen to close its small schools, arguing that bigger ones could offer more. Delnies was just slightly bigger than the single teacher schools which got the chop.”

Iain recalls: “I don't believe Delnies was disadvantaged particularly but Millbank got better music and art teaching and we got no physical education until the late Mrs Kerr began a peripatetic round. We never got any swimming. When we moved to Nairn in 1960 I was given the choice of having my final year at Delnies or transferring to Millbank. I chose Delnies although it meant a hike, bike or bus ride. In Tradespark parents were offered the choice of Millbank or Delnies. This persisted right through the expansion of Tradespark (Red Cross and Croft field) building until the 1990s in the form of a choice between Rosebank and Millbank and it ended when there was a decline in the Rosebank roll.”

Now as we move towards potential development of both Sandown and Delnies perhaps the closure of the Delnies school can look, with the benefit of hindsight, rather short-sighted? Perhaps it would have been unsustainable to have parents driving there to pick up children on the edge of the busy A96 but then perhaps a roundabout an parking could have been created. A roundabout would certainly have made turning off to Ardersier a lot safer.

Delnies school itself was donated by Cawdor Estate and reverted to the estate when it was no longer used for educational purposes. If another school is needed at Delnies then developers will be persuaded to cough up some cash in the same way Sainsbury’s had their arm twisted behind their back to contribute to the High Street and traffic lights.
Are we moving too quickly into an age where the only way we will get any new infrastructure is if a developer pays for it in exchange for permission to build a few hundred houses or a supermarket?


growtosow said...

i am still puzzled as to were the folk are going to work if this part of the town gets built on? and its not just the schools they need to think about, what about the rest of the things we need hospital dentist, can the town cope with this?

Graisg said...

Agreed, we could do with some more jobs in Nairn for the existing inhabitants first - too many people have to travel to Inverness everyday.

NiMbee said...

No surprise here, all over the country developers are allowed to build houses with little or no infrastructure put in place first.

We need more Sainsbury's stores, at least we got traffic light in advance of it opening!