PLANS for improvements to Dumfries Academy have stopped dead after a bid for funding was unsuccessful.
The Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP) is a joint £2 billion investment programme between Scottish and local Governments used to improve learning conditions and facilities in Scotland’s schools.
Dumfries and Galloway Council applied to the scheme last October in order to secure funding for refurbishments at the Academy, but their application has been rejected.
It means the local authority will now need to fully fund any work, including the relocation of Loreburn Primary, on top of their recent commitment to pay for the new Dumfries High School.
Reacting to the news, Dumfries and Galloway Council leader, Councillor Gail MacGregor said: “In the wake of this disappointing news, we will now take time to consider what our options are in relation to this redevelopment work, and how it’ll affect the communities, both at local and school level.
“We have a large school estate here in Dumfries and Galloway, and the funding through LEIP 3 would have allowed us to rationalise this estate ever so slightly, and at the same time spend vital capital on an ageing property.
“Despite the current financial constraints, the council is continuing to make improvements to property portfolio to provide modern learning environments to best meet the needs of the children and young people both short and long term.”
She added: “Our application was submitted in October last year, so to wait a full calendar year to be told “no” is extremely disappointing for all concerned.”
Meanwhile, the shock decision has infuriated South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth, who described the decision as an ‘utter betrayal’ by the Scottish Government.
He said: “It beggars belief that centuries old crumbling buildings, which parents have labelled as rat infested, are regarded as fit for purpose by Scottish Ministers and not worthy of a penny of support.
“It means no new school builds or refurbishments are taking place locally with funding from the Scottish Government and once again Dumfries and Galloway is the forgotten region.
“The council have given a very clear commitment to the community that they will complete the Dumfries Learning Town project.
“If the council fails to do so, they will be as guilty of a betrayal as the Scottish Government.”