Monifieth Learning Campus to go ahead.

Angus Council has reaffirmed its commitment to a new Learning Campus for Monifieth, replacing the existing high school.

Approval was given at today’s Policy & Resources Committee while elected members acknowledged that the project costs will increase by £6m to £56m.

That additional sum will be found from reduced spending on other capital projects as detailed in appendix 3 of the report (report 152/22).

Councillors heard how an options appraisal had been undertaken, with only two options sufficiently meeting set criteria. These are to continue with the new build and find additional capital investment from other sources or abandon the previously agreed project altogether and instead pursue a phased programme of refurbishment works to the existing school.

The new campus project has already gained approval for Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP) funding, which is provided by the Scottish Government and administrated via the Scottish Futures Trust. However, this funding is granted over a 25-year period to meet facilities management and life-cycle maintenance costs based on 50 percent of a notional capital cost. It does not meet capital costs. In addition, this funding is released upon evidence of achievement of agreed outcomes in relation to specific targets for:

  • Enabling the transition to net zero emissions
  • Driving inclusive economic growth
  • Building resilient and sustainable places

Accordingly, an option to reduce the size and quality of the build to meet the current budget of £50m (and an associated reduction in specification) would fail to attract the LEIP funding. It would also fail to meet the councils’ Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) (approved on 4 November 2021 and available via this link SECAP). SECAP demonstrates that the council is committed to sustainable development, environmental management and the transition to a low carbon economy.

The current design for the campus meets stringent energy efficiency targets, reducing carbon emissions in both construction and day-to-day running of the school, and meeting Passivhaus accreditation, which is the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction.

In addition, the current specification for the new campus includes a swimming pool, something that was a specific and majority request arising from community engagement. Further, in last year’s budget consultation, the Schools for the Future programme was equal third most important priority identified for the council to provide.

The planned build will contain increased accessibility, with features including six ‘changing places’ toilets throughout the school and sports centre that will allow more children and young people with disabilities to attend the school. It also enhances accessibility for all people using the swimming pool and fitness facilities when they open to the public.

This new campus, the next project in the council’s ambitious School Investment Strategy 2017-2047, future proofs educational provision in the Monifieth area, allowing for an expansion in the school roll to meet increased population from future house building in the area.

The project will now progress through the 12-week period to gain planning consent.