Seven months after its initial decision to bow to parental pressure to improve all-weather sports facilities at Stornoway Primary school, the largest such school in the Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has taken a further step.
CnES announced on Tuesday September 21 that its Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee had agreed "to commit to a major investment in sports facilities at Stornoway Primary School with the approval of outline proposals to construct a new Indoor Multi-use Sports Facility at the school."
Councillor Paul Steele, Chairman of the Education, Sport & Children’s Services Committee, said: “This investment by the Comhairle will significantly expand the capacity for indoor physical education, learning, play, performance and social space for the school’s 391 pupils.
“The Comhairle recognises the commitment of the school and its pupils, parents and staff in working towards this new development and now looks forward to working with them to advance the project and progress it to the construction phase.”
It was back on February 24 that Stornoway parents and councillors united in celebration after a ‘fantastic outcome’ on sports provision at Stornoway Primary School.
Comhairle leader Roddie Mackay pledged his commitment to install an all-weather pitch at the school, in response to people-power through press coverage, social media and councillor lobbying. On Thursday 18 February Stornoway Community Council agreed to back a proposal by Councillor Gordon Murray, who had tabled an amendment to the Comhairle’s annual budget, seeking £350,000 for an all-weather pitch at the school. Reported on welovestornoway.com, the plan attracted widespread support from parents and generated lobbying among other councillors. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader Councillor Mackay then announced that he intended to approve installation of an all-weather pitch. This was passed by 19 votes to 12.
That meant an addition to the proposed budget under the heading of the education, sport and children’s services committee, recommending that the Comhairle investigate the detailed costs and funding options for an all-weather pitch at Stornoway Primary school.
A report was to be submitted to the June 2021 series of meetings with a view to securing finance and a construction start in the 2021/22 financial year.
(This report has been updated to clarify that the events mentioned in the latter part of the report all took place in February, and that no actual vote was taken at the recent meeting. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been asked to clarify what is meant by "a major investment in sports facilities" but no reply has been received.)