Old School with some great new ideas in Ballater

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Whatever the future may hold for Ballater Old School has been discussed extensively at a community meeting held in July.

The Old School Working Group, representing a range of local and other interested organisations, presented the work they had undertaken to make a case for community involvement in future development of the site.

Most of those who attended, or returned questionnaires, supported the move to pursue community ownership. The term “Community Ownership” can cover a wide range of options, and The Working Group is aware that long-term sustainability will require a mix, probably of local housing and opportunities for community enterprise helping support other community needs.

A spokesperson said: ‘‘What form this may take needs to be thrashed out by the working group with support from Aberdeenshire Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and a number of other organisations.

‘‘A meeting has been held with Aberdeenshire Council to discuss the formal process of transferring the site into community ownership.

‘‘The task ahead is by no means simple and does not guarantee a successful outcome until a viable business case is presented. The group has is identifying the current needs of the community, exploring the options which this site presents, and making a viable case.’’

The Area Committee confirmed last Tuesday that it would support the community in determining a business case for the site. Now the Group is are looking to expand, and establish a core body who will commit to determining the demand, exploring the options to meet it and working up the business case.

The spokesperson added: “This will not be design by committee, but a core team with a pool of people who are willing to assist in a number of ways.

“If you would like to contribute we want to hear from you. We expect to have a large group in a pool who will take on tasks, big and small under the guidance of a dedicated core team.”

Contact Nick Mardall on 013397 55467 or nick.dddp@btconnect .com to be involved in any way.