Stoer School development update
Stoer School update 10th February 2022
In August 2021 Highland Council (HC) put Stoer School for sale on the open market. This was despite telling the community in a 2019 open meeting about the planned closure of Stoer School that ‘we would ask all the other departments in the council whether they would have a use for the building. The next phase would be the opportunity for a community asset transfer, and a sale on the open market would come after that’. Assynt Development Trust wrote to the Council stating that it “is not in principle against Stoer School being sold, if this proves to be the best course of action, but rather with the hasty way this process is being conducted and the lack of proper consultation with the community of Assynt”. John McHardy, HC’s Head of Housing Development, contacted the Trust to say that the school would be taken off the market. Subsequently the Trust held a meeting with John McHardy and Ronnie Macrae of the Communities Housing Trust (CHT) where it was agreed that HC, CHT and ADT would work to produce a tender brief that would be sent to architects asking them to quote for the work in assessing the building and its possible conversion into other uses including affordable housing. The architects feasibility & design study will give the community and HC more information on what is feasible with the building and this will possibly inform future business plans.
In October 2021 Highland Council appointed the Communities Housing Trust to produce a tender brief which was sent out to four interested architects asking them to consider and present options for Stoer School. ADT will assist HC, CHT and the architects with the feasibility and design study for Stoer School.
In late November 2021 Iain Livesley architect from Edderton won the tender and was appointed to produce the feasibility & design study. The former NHS drop-in centre on Main St, Lochinver was also added to the brief, as it is another currently unused HC-owned building and potentially could become housing and/or retail space.
In early December Iain visited Stoer School along with John McHardy HC, Morven Taylor and Robert Humphrey CHT, Alex Dickson Assynt Community Council and Ewen McLachlan and Willie Jack Assynt Development Trust. Iain has been appointed to provide three layout options for Stoer School and the adjacent land by the end of February 2022.
When Iain Livesley has completed his feasibility and design study, then CHT and ADT will arrange a day in Stoer / Lochinver to show the proposals to the community and gather feedback.
Willie Jack, Chair ADT